Lifestyle and Health

WHERE WILL YOU LIE?

The screaming came from both john and Fred’s homesteads. People ran there in no particular order. I cannot say that there were many people in either house, but I can’t also say there was an equal number, at times like that, people do not count. The news was the same; the doctor was dead, a road accident, a head on collision that left her range rover sport badly damaged, her face deeply cut, her head with no frontal bone and some brain matter spilt on the road. That must have been a very painful way to die.
The fire was lit in the two homesteads and the wakes happened simultaneously. Fred and John are her brothers and even though one is older than the other, no one is superior and didn’t they both lose her? So how does one decide that the mourning will happen in one house and not the other one? Only one committee was made however, and the meetings happened in either house.
Well three weeks after and there are no signs of a burial. Her body lies in Lazarus funeral home lifeless, probably rotting away. Her brothers back home are having a hard time deciding. The problem is on whose side the grave should be dug, their parents have been dead twenty years now. The land that once belonged to the family has been divided between the two brothers, the place where their parent’s house once stood is invisible and their graves are no longer visible.
Araka is an uncle to Fred, John and Sara. He is the only of their father’s brother’s that is remaining, the rest, have gone to be with the lord. When consulted about these matters, he spits to the ground and then to his hands, he then rubs his hands and grips his walking stick tighter and leans forward. He talks in spurts, his answers are never direct, on the first instance, he says;’ am an old man, these are my homestretch days, I desire no enemy because I want to be mourned in a good way, how then do I decide who among my two nephews carries this burden? If I were not a man, I would impose it on any of them, but we the Abagusii have a way of doing things, the wife gets buried to the left side of the main door to the main house while the man is buried to the right side, the children, should they die while young, are buried in between their parents. Times have gone, Sara is no longer a child, her parents are long gone and the land of her father now belongs to her two brothers. The house whence her parents, my brother and his wife lived is not there anymore, their graves are also lost, the land has been divided and things are different now. If only Sara had a husband, this would have made the issues very easy. ‘
Sara’s friends and workmates have offered an easier way out, the cemetery; Fred says no, they cannot throw her away just like that. John just shakes his head, he has no reason. Uncle Araka refutes this; he says it’s upon him for his niece to be buried at home, near her people. Days are moving, but the people at home have no answers yet. You see it is difficult, if only Sara could have died ten years earlier, then this problem would never have arisen, back then, the land hadn’t been divided yet, maybe the only problem later would be, on whose side of the share would the grave have fallen, not the current problem of on whose side will it be dug?
Sara was her dad’s darling, she would still be except that she is now dead and he died even earlier. She is, sorry was (when do people become a past tense after they die? I have always wondered is it immediately after they are confirmed dead? After their breathing ceases and their heart stops or is it after they are buried or after our memory of them becomes obsolete? Is it after those many days after when we remember them and we no longer cry or is it after we see them lying lifeless, after they are lowered unto the earth from whence they came?) She was a beautiful woman by all standards, average height, brown as the red earth, curvy in the right places, with dark and hair longer than the Brazilian weaves. A graceful woman, who makes men sin as she walks, whose buttocks swing these way and that way as she walks step after another.
People have chosen to shelf that story about her burial, her two brothers are to decide, after they agree, they will let the neighbors know, and Sara’s friends. Then they will un-hung their somber mood and wear it to the funeral, then the women will scream and sing about how good she was. The children will sing a praise song in honor of her, a woman who could not be buried at home, because the land there has been divided between Fred and John. The place where their parents’ house stood is not there anymore. Their house has been demolished, and the two little graves, their mother’s to the left of the main entry, and their father’s to the right are no longer visible, their compound is now a land where banana plants are doing great.
When Fred and John are asked, they say they really love Sara they cannot decide who should have the honors of having her grave outside their compound. But when Fred drinks, he blurts, my wife and I have discussed, we cannot bury a woman who refused to get married in our land, what will we be telling our children? What if Mongina grows up and decides that she will be like her? A woman who gets too much education that she thinks a man is unnecessary, see she is dead now suffering in the mortuary, with nobody to claim her body, rotting away or freezing in a stinking place. I would bury her in my piece but that woman wears trousers, her nose is pierced, her ears and who knows where else she is pierced? What if I bury her and her spirit enters my only girl? John never shouts, but he cannot bury her either, his reasons? Most of Sara’s money ended up in Fred’s pockets and not his. Why should he be the good one now?
The story has been in the village long enough, it has been told and retold, and the school children ask if the doctor is getting buried at home every day. The girls want to sing a song during the burial, and the boys want to count the number of vehicles in the funeral procession. They all want to miss school on that day; the meeting will most probably be held in their school compound. The women talk about it everywhere, in church, it begins with prayers, that people may bless that family, that they may be shown a vision, that they may be united and that they may be comforted. Soon after the amen is said, the women ask you mean there are no arrangements yet? And another round of gossip is born, a subdued gossip that goes on and on even as the man of God is saying the notifications.
See people have really racked their brains about the issue. Each option has a negative, each possibility a disadvantage, yet Sara must be buried. The village has stopped mourning, the neighbors have decided to take their hoes and weed their gardens. The distant cousins have gone back to work, the path across their land has reopened and the women who sell bananas are using it now. People have stopped talking about how good she was, and now the women can’t help but wonder how she was living while she was not a nun? Is it possible to live and not desire, the warmth, the whispers, the physical contact, and the services of a man? Might she have snatched a husband from a bitch who decided to take matters to her own hands? The secrets of an unmarried woman, does she make love, to whom, how often? Does she think about her death? Does she think about her burial and the eulogy?

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Doreen Saringi

Hey there, welcome. I am Dr. Oyunge. Books are my second love and writing is my third. Once I take off my white coat, I pick my pen.

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ketihapa
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Oh God Doreen. Women deserve a fair chance to excel too. I am hurt that some practices still exist.

saringin
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me too and this is the most i cando….write about it

Babjy
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And how you brought the Gusii culture on burial…..!! In Gusiiland the dead bring more agony than when they’re alive. People never rest….. It’s so complicated….

saringin
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truth..babjy distressing

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