Having left the wedding ceremony we drove to the location for the funeral for a man who had unexpectedly died during the early hours of the morning. We had learned of his death before we had gone to church and our attendance at the funeral was required as this man was the appointed overseer over a number of households, one of which was ours. Again, there was the segregation of men and women. As part of the company of women I found myself for the second time that day in someone’s crowded bedroom. This time it was to weep, wail, give condolences and pray with the distraught widow and female relatives.
It was the part of the men to wash and prepare the body for burial. They went through the ritual washing of their hands and feet before being led in ritual prayers. Then the body was brought out on a frame that was shrouded in white linen. The men walked a short distance away carrying the frame while the women remained around the house and sang some songs that were started by different individuals. I later learned that the body was lowered into the grave under the cover of a piece of cloth which prevented anyone from seeing the body. Then the body was then covered with wood, branches and leaves before the fabric was removed. The men then filled the remaining space with soil. After completing the burial, the men returned to where they had been sitting under the trees, to wait to be served food that had been prepared by the women during the whole process. At this point we left the proceedings as it was just on dark.
One day, three very different celebrations!