No tears as nurse cremated in a first for Bellevue residents
Funerals are a sad and tearful affair, but in Nyeri town yesterday no tear was shed as a family cremated the body of a loved one.
Geoffrey Maina, 53, a father of two, indicated in his a will he wanted to be cremated instead of being buried at his home in Bellevue, Kieni West. The nurse, who died last week, is the first person from Bellevue to be cremated.
The family collected his body from St Mary Immaculate Hospital mortuary in the morning, put it in a brown gunny bag and transported it 15 kilometres to Hindu Crematorium in Nyeri town.
The relatives and friends present for the three-hour cremation did not cry and no pastor conducted the final ceremony, as is customary. Maina’s requiem mass was held on Tuesday.
Instead they stood a few metres away and recorded the event with their smartphones before leaving. The mourners interviewed said the funeral was low-cost and modern.
“He is a Kikuyu from my ward and [the family was] following his wish. He said he would not like to be buried and would like to be burnt,” MCA Mugunda ward Joseph Maina said.
“This has never happened in that area and that is why people look stunned and surprised.” Hindu Crematorium attendant Esther Wanjohi said about 15 non-Hindus have been cremated this year alone.
“Last week we burnt a Kikuyu from Nyahururu. Many people from the local community [are choosing] cremation as a way of biding farewell to their loved ones,” she said.
They see it as a way to cut funeral expenses as there is no need for a coffin or burial clothes, or food, Wanjohi said. Cremation has always been regarded as a Hindu tradition, with other Kenyan cultures choosing to bury their loved ones.
Witnesses were of different opinions. Some said more residents should emulate Maina, while others said they would prefer to be buried. “For me I would prefer being buried because that is what I found my forefathers doing,” Elizabeth Nduta said.