In Memory of John Mumba Mwagandi
John Mumba, father of Sidi, Samuel, Joseph, George, David, Jacob and Elizabeth, died on 6 December 2012 and was buried at his shamba on 12 December 2012. Soon after we arrived in Kenya we were told “on 12 December we will all go to the rural home for a memorial service”. And so it was that Joe picked us up early and, together with Samuel, Ed and John we drove to Mariakani where we stopped (for ages, it seemed, in the hot sun) to buy supplies. We then proceeded to the shamba.
Most of the family were already there, having travelled earlier. Mary (now with her long hair!) was looking after Anton (her first cousin once removed).
The kids wasted no time in exploring Joe’s truck.
There was a lot of activity, segregated on gender and age. The younger men had slaughtered the goat and were butchering it.
Many of the women were sorting rice for pilau
others were peeling vegetables
The kids were mostly just having fun
The older men (wazee) sat under a tree and chatted (in Giriama).
An old radio, powered by a small solar panel, played music.
Jacob had told us it was de rigeur to wear the traditional kikoi and commemorative t-shirts. In fact, we were the only ones with the new polo shirts, though several people had the t-shirt printed last year. There were only a few people sporting kikois too, but it comfortable attire and it’s nice to be somewhere where no-one bats an eyelid when you wear one.
The pilau gets under way – I thought we’d brought a paddle for someone’s canoe, but it was just a huge stirrer.
Some of the family with granny, John’s widow, sadly now getting rather forgetful.
Patrick and Mary – brother and sister together for once!
This man seemed to spend the whole day making a mat.
John takes a nap.
Selina plaits Elizabeth’s hair.
Mama of the spoon.
A lot of mnazi (palm wine) seemed to be consumed in some quarters.
Joe with Chris
The pilau is served
Oh, that’s me (asking for my phone back!)
As we ate lunch, the grey clouds gathered.
Mass was postponed as we sheltered in the tent (the brolly was necessary because the tent has holes)
The women were in the house, dancing and singing, and came out to chase the rain away.
There was a lot of rain in a short time!
We soon gathered for Mass around the tent (in case the rain returned)
Blessing the water
Around the grave, the cross ready to be installed
Processing back as the sun gets lower
We then distributed the clothes we’d brought from various friends in the UK, which were greatly appreciated. Jacob and Robert had to act as askaris (security men) so we didn’t get squashed! Some of the recipients put their new acquisitions on straight away.
The face fits the t-shirt!
They didn’t seem to care whether the clothes were gender specific or not!
Tina and Grace
The moon is out- it must be time to go home.
I thought it would be a good idea to get a picture of everyone who had the traditional kikoi on (I thought there were just 5 of us, me, Meld, Jacob, Elizabeth and Gladys) but suddenly loads appeared! (Sorry, I gave Grace a big challenge to take this in the half light)
And then, everyone wanted their picture taken with the kikoi!
So, we headed home in the dark, and eventually arrived safely, tired but happy after a wonderful celebration day. (It was also Kenya’s 50th Birthday, and we saw lots of that on the TV when we got back)