Death, the inevitable passage of all mankind, has presently become very common to a level where everyone thinks about it almost daily.
It is either that its frequency has suddenly shot up or that the current ease in communicating news on account of the latest digital development has played an important role. Be it as it may we are daily bombarded with news of relatives, friends and people we know passing away.
You will recall that last week in this very same column, I wrote about travelling from Arusha to Njombe to attend the funeral of a good friend of mine.
Well, I arrived safely save for the fact that I inadvertently forgot to carry with me a heavy coat. So on arrival in Njombe, I had to rush to a nearby second hand clothing stall to buy one fur-flared coat as well as a balaclava and some heavy hand gloves. Njombe is presently teeth shattering cold.
And, I naturally switched from my usual ‘mortuary cold’ lagers to the more potent and super distilled whiskies shipped in all the way from St James Street in London.
It was while at this spiritually body warming exercise that I was informed that apart from the death of my good friends three other deaths had occurred in my village in the past one week.
After the burial of my good friend I had to visit the three bereaved families to pay my condolences. And while at it I received another heartbreaking news that an uncle of mine had also died. He had died like all the others of ‘breathing complications.’
It was naturally a shocking development. The community is now abiding to the strict health guidelines which include the wearing of barakoa in public places and ‘elbow greeting’ rather than shaking hands!
The local Ilembula Lutheran Church Hospital is full of patients suffering from similar complications - and patients are being evacuated to the nearby Mbeya Referral Hospital, where there are better facilities.
The authorities have imposed special guidelines covering funeral services which include that they should not involve more than 30 mourners and should not last more than half an hour.
So, as I pen this column, I am still in Njombe attending to the funeral of my uncle. We all need to pray to God to save us from this life-threatening pandemic while we strictly adhere to the health guidelines. Amen!
The author is a veteran journalist and communications expert based in Arusha