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Amerigo

A friend of mine – Jo – whatsapped me one morning and said, “My daughter died today, four years ago.” I saw this message when I was coming from the gym, endorphins thumping in my ear. I was surprised because I didn’t even know she had lost a child. To be honest, I didn’t want to start my day talking about dead children. Most mornings I don’t want to start the day with stories like this. I want someone to send me a video of a chubby Chinese baby dancing in diapers or smoking cigarettes, or a video of someone – preferably someone fat and black – falling in the rain. Because there is no fun in watching a thin white person fall in the rain, it’s like eating carrots.

Regardless, I said the kind things you are supposed to say when someone tells you something as devastating like this. Then she started typing and typing, so I sat in the car and read her long thread. She was planning to go back to Aga Khan and thank the mortician. I say, “Oh, the mortician?” She says, yes, because when she lost her daughter the mortician treated her like a “four year old.” He made her giggle even at that dark time. He treated her dead daughter like “she would wake up.” She wrote, “The worst was when I took her burial clothes but he was off duty and so he said wait for me and he came to attend to her on that day and the following day even when he was still off duty; he prepared her, dressed her up like I wanted and handed her over to me, not in a white box like I had requested because I wanted to see her as my baby and not her in a wooden box like a dead thing. The white fascinator fell over her small face. She was so pretty. My world had stopped but I found strength in who he was.”

“What’s this guy’s name and do you think he can agree to be interviewed?” I wrote because that story reminded me of Amerigo Bonasera. You know who Amerigo Bonasera is, right?

One of the greatest books ever written after the Bible is The Godfather, by Mario Puzo. If you are the type who’s too busy to read a book you will watch the movie that starts with Amerigo Bonasera – a mortician – asking Don Corleone, the Godfather, for a favour on the day his daughter is getting married because an Italian will not refuse a favour on the day his daughter is getting married. Bonasera wants justice for his daughter who was physically molested by some “American boys.” He went to court but the American courts refused to give him justice, so he’s there – hat in hand – to seek Italian justice from The Don. But first he has to offer friendship by kissing the Godfather’s ring.

Don: “Bonasera, Bonasera, what have I done to make you treat me so disrespectfully? We’ve known each other many years, but this is the first time you ever came to me for help. I can’t remember the last time you invited me to your house for a cup of coffee. Let’s be frank here, you never wanted my friendship, you were afraid to be in my debt. You found paradise in America, you had a good trade, you made a good living, the police protected you and there were courts of law. You didn’t need a friend like me. But now you come to me and you say, “Don Corleone, give me justice.” But you don’t ask with respect. You don’t offer friendship. You don’t even call me Godfather. Instead you come into my house the day my daughter is to be married and you ask me to do murder for money.

Bonasera: I ask for justice.

Don: That is not justice. Your daughter is alive.

The Godfather tells him that he doesn’t need payment for the justice he will mete, but that one day he might or might not call on Bonasera for his help. Years later, Sonny, his volatile and impulsive son is gunned down under a hail of bullets by the Barzini hitmen paid by the Tattaglia Family and the Godfather calls on Bonasera to fix the body of his son, “I don’t want his mother to see him like that.”

As I go to interview Elkanah Mwinami, I feel like I’m going to meet Amerigo Bonasera, he who dignifies death. When I get to Aga Khan I realise that I have never known where the morgue is. I call Elkanah and he tells me to meet him outside the main laboratory because he also works in the lab as an assistant.

I don’t know what to expect of him. No, actually I do. I expect someone gaunt; a narrow face with a sinister nose. Someone with a thousand yard stare. I expect him to drag me to a smoking zone where he will drag at a cheap cigarette and talk about bodies like they are planks of wood. Dark lips. A sloping forehead, wide, but not as big as mine. I expect someone who can’t string together a whole sentence in English. I expect someone with alcoholic breath and red capillaries running in his teary eyes. Someone who coughs a lot without covering his mouth. A haunted-looking man with bony knuckles and dark nails on hands that handle bodies without souls. Zero eye contact. To mean, I went armed with prejudice.

He’s standing there, looking at his phone. He has on a white lab coat. He’s in jeans and loafers because it’s a Friday. He’s of average height, maybe 5’4” at the very most. Wait, that’s only average in Congo. He has a prominent stubble. His forehead isn’t wide as I thought it would be but it runs into bald. He doesn’t smile easily, but he laughs unexpectedly. His profile picture on Facebook is of him in a suit and tie, he looks like he shaved for that picture. That picture has 116 Likes and on it someone asks with his tongue in cheek. “Mheshimiwa fulani, have you gone for the swearing in?” Another called Maina has written, “Mbunge wa eneo gani?” and he has replied, “Canaan.”

Another – a lady – has written, “By the way, I don’t know why you don’t want to visit me in the ward, but if you want, come with this suit not a lab coat.” I think she’s being flirtatious or has dark humour because if Elkanah visits you in your ward wearing his lab coat, he’s coming to pick a dead body. Hopefully not yours.

We shake hands. We walked down the hallway, past the brick building that houses radiology department, at the end of the corridor, where the brick building meets another building is a small space that can’t fit two people. Here we wedge ourselves through that onto another corridor and the morgue is there with a blue door. We push through the next door and into a room with seats lined against the wall. This is the viewing room. Here, Elkanah wheels bodies in and the kith and kin gather around to view and pray. There is a picture on the wall donated by Farida and Irfan Keshavjee of a lady with one teardrop on her eye and a dove perched on her hand. The dove’s eyes are closed. Even though the room has chairs and two wall hangings our voices somehow echo in this room, which says that even though this room has furniture it still remains empty. You can’t fill a room that embodies such sorrow and loss with anything but prayer and hope. Many people have sat and stood in this room with heavy hearts and with great sorrow and they have looked down at their departed ones. This room, with all it’s chairs looking into each other, is the theater of death.

Elkanah grew up in Nakuru where he was born. In 1999, after high school he hopped onto a bus and came to Nairobi for the first time to look for a job. He worked as a loader in a warehouse at Kenya Cereals Board and then worked in a family business for a bit. Then he got a job as a lab technician at Aga Khan.

“I didn’t look for this job,” he says. “I wouldn’t have seen myself working in a hospital. I hated biology in school, hated the smell of Lysol, the cleaning solution. When I started my job as an assistant I was asked if I was okay to sometimes help in the morgue with pathology. I thought it was interesting, odd, but interesting, I said I would.” He laughs. “Growing up I would never come near a body, especially the body of a woman because they wore white and the image would remain in my head for so long.” He’s eloquent, confident and comfortable with English.

His typical day starts in the lab where he prepares solutions and equipment ready for the technicians. He says he’s not a typical mortician because they are not that busy. “We can go a whole week here without losing a patient.” Besides it’s expensive to keep bodies there for long so most people transfer them to other morgues. He always makes checks in the morgue to make sure the freezers are working fine and for notifications of any bodies that need picking from the wards.

“Do you know what the bodies who come here die of?” I ask.

“It’s not necessary that I know,” he says. “They die of death.” My laughter echoes in the room. “I don’t need to know the cause of death unless it’s something contagious.” He is married. He met a girl a years back and dated her. I ask him how that went; when did he tell her that he worked in a morgue?

“First date,” he says. “We had met for coffee one evening and I mentioned that I work in the department of pathology, that we deal with testing patients when they pass on. That I take care of them. She was scared.” He chuckles. “ She asked what does that mean? I told her we work with people who are dead, in a morgue. Some of these things you say them at the beginning, you don’t wait. So she knew me from the beginning.”

“Were you scared that she would be spooked and not see you again?”

“No,” he says. “ I would have been scared if I saw what I do as less.”

He has five children, the first three are from a previous relationship, the two – seven and eight years old – from his current. He says they know daddy works in a hospital. They come to work to see him and wait for him in this waiting room. With over 15 years experience working in the morgue he has seen hundreds of bodies, dealt with more bereaved families. He has seen how death changes people and how they live thereafter, with themselves and with others.

“Does it become easy?” I ask. “Is death something you have come to embrace and has that reduced your fear of dying?”

“No, it’s never easy.Every death is unique, and that’s what is fascinating about it, that no two cases are the same. But you know something funny?”

“No,” I say. I know I didn’t have to answer but I like to answer rhetorical questions. It’s my way of revolting against norms.

“There is always hope in death,” he says.

It was after his tea break last year when he was notified that he had to go to the wards to pick a body. The gentleman had just died under an hour ago. He was a young guy, maybe 35, recently married, two children, the breadwinner. So he goes up to the ward and in the room he finds the wife completely hysterical. “She was crying next to the body of her husband, screaming saying, ‘no, no, no, you haven’t gone,’ so I stand in the corner of the room and wait. It was almost an emergency case because she had high blood pressure and the doctors were worried she would harm herself. Anyway, she collapsed and was carried out of the room.” With the help of the nurse they heaved the body on a stretcher and wheeled it to the morgue.

“I constantly thought about her and how sad that situation was, three days later she comes to pick the body with relatives and friends. The body was in this room here and I stood outside the room and could hear a lot of wailing and crying and later she collapsed again. It was very hard, such a young woman, now a widow at barely 32-years of age with children. I didn’t think she would make it but a few months later I ran into her in the corridor and I said hello and she looked strong and healthy. I was amazed. Looking at that woman I realised that there is hope for everyone even when there seems no sign of hope. Life continues even in death.”

“Do people judge you, think of you as odd, inhuman because you do what you do?”

“People think we are crazy, that we are alcoholics and that we are haunted,” he laughs. “When you meet me outside the hospital can you tell what I do? Don’t I support the football team you support? Don’t I have children I worry about like you? And isn’t my money good at any shop? Look…” he retrieves a thousand shillings from his wallet. “When I spend this money, will you know it came from the guy who works in a morgue? Does my thousand shilling note have a stain?”

There is some noise of something being pulled outside in the corridor, so I motion for him to stop talking for a bit because of the recorder. Behind us, above the line of small windows above, staff laugh and josh even when in the next room people lie in freezers.

Elkanah is on Linkedin, as a lab assistant at AKHUN. There is a recommendation that reads: Elkanah is a very bright man, principles and seasoned when it comes to trade union matters. He’s also on Twitter. Joined in November 2013. His profile reads, “adventist man, workers crusader and family man.” Yup. Us SDA people are many in this city. He has three followers and he follows three people. Guess who are these three he follows? You won’t. It’s Uhuru Kenyatta, Peter Kenneth and some guy called Sammy Ngaru “Mr Walker,” who from his profile picture is a medic at Aga Khan. With these three followers I doubt Elkanah is serious about reaching Canaan.

He has tweeted only once since he joined twitter, most likely the very same day he joined Twitter and was wondering how this beast works. He tweeted @Diokwach; He said, Hi@Diokwach. Diokwach said nothing. Diokwach is one of those guys you tweet and tell hi and they never say hi back. They are too cool to say hi back. I bet Diokwach isn’t SDA otherwise he would have said hi back. Most SDA people would say hi back if you hey-ed them on Twitter. Or on the road. That’s just how we were raised. Diokwach if you are reading this be a sport and please say hi back to @Elkanamwinami.

“What’s the hardest part of your job?” I ask when the sound dies down.

He sighs and slides further into his chair. “Babies.” Puffs his cheeks. “Dealing with a small baby is the hardest thing for me. It doesn’t matter how many times I have done it, when I hear I have to collect a baby I have to always just prepare myself for it.” He rubs his stomach absentmindedly. He has a small paunch which he seems very proud of.
“The babies between one and five years are the hardest because of the pain they cause to everyone, even those who didn’t know them. It’s painful to pick a baby from his parents and put them in a freezer and they have to go home without their baby.” We sit there in brief silence. “The difference with working here as opposed to standalone morgues like the private ones like Montezuma and the likes is that sometimes we know these children, maybe they were born here, or we have seen them come for treatment here, we know them, we know their parents and for us to see them dead is just very hard to handle.”

“Why do you think God lets children die?” I blurt out.

“I don’t know,” he stares at me. “ I don’t know.” More staring. Then he looks away. “ I don’t know why God would bring a child to this world, make them suffer and then let them die at 4-years of age.”

“Do you think about your own death?” I ask.

‘I do,” he says. “I know I will die, I don’t know when but I know I will. It’s not easier because I work here, you know.”

“When you think about it what do you think about?”

“Whether my body will be handled the same way I have handled the rest in my career.”

“And how do you want your body handled?”

“The best way…with respect., will I be well presented to my loved ones?” he says. “I mentioned that the people who lie in the freezer next door are patients. I treat them with the dignity of patients because they are special to someone, they are fathers and brothers and mothers and sisters and grandmothers.”

“They have left clothes behind, and photographs and memories and pets and they had favorite songs that will continue playing in their absence…”

“Yes,” he says cutting me off, thankfully, because I was going to take off on that thread.

The one case that he has never forgotten was when he was called from leave. His colleague, a staff at the hospital had drowned. He had to come back and prepare the body and assist the pathologist with a post-mortem. “I have never forgotten how it seemed odd that someone I had seen only days ago was now on our table, dead. This was someone who was never sick or anything, someone I had spoken to just that week.”

“Death seems to still surprise you,” I say.

“ It does,” he says simply and doesn’t expound. He starts to say something but his phone trills and he looks at it and looks at me, “may I?” I wave him on and he answers it.

“Do you ever carry work home?” I ask it as a very dark and inappropriate joke but thankfully he misses it or maybe he just ignores me all together because he answers something totally different. “I mean do you have dreams of dead people sometimes.”

“Never,” he says. “The only time I think of work when at home is when I’m planning my day the next day. Otherwise I have ordinary dreams which I don’t remember the next morning.”

He tells me of death that is avoidable. Like drunk driving. He says it’s the most useless way to die because all it requires is to make different choices. He sometimes sees people who succumb to death from driving drunk and he looks at them lying on the cold slab with cuts and bruises and blood that long clotted in their brains and heart and he says it’s the most selfish way to die because you leave behind people with pain.

“Has someone ever come back to life in your morgue?” I ask.

He laughs. “Never. I have heard of people who wake up in public morgues. I think these are drunks who are picked and thrown in there and later wake up. Once we put you in the freezer you are not waking up, nobody who gets in that room on their backs leaves on their feet.”

I ask him if he thinks when people die they still hang around for a bit, their spirit remains and if so if he feels death in the morgue, or the idea of it. He says he doesn’t feel death in the morgue. The morgue is mostly quiet. Nothing moves there apart from him. There are no spirits hanging around idly. This is not some movie. People die and they are finished.

I tell him about lores I have heard before from my people. How sometimes dead folk refuse to abide. There was one I heard of this guy who died and when his body was put in a car ready to be transported back to shags in a convoy, the car refused to start. How the driver started the car severally and the car just wouldn’t start. A mechanic was called who checked the car and was puzzled when he couldn’t see any mechanical problem with the car. Everybody was puzzled. Then some old man with a collapsed hat said that the boy didn’t want to go to shags, he was unhappy about something. The mother was called and she came into the car and sat near the coffin and talked to him in a hushed pleading tone.

I wasn’t there but I think she said something like, Son, don’t do this. Please. We have a long journey home and we are ready to leave. The sky is pregnant and it will start raining anytime now and we don’t want this rain to find us here. So please kindly allow us to leave and not bring shame to our family. If it’s this Probox you don’t want to be carried in we can change cars if we can. We could transfer you to the Mercedes but that car has no space, Auntie Getti decided to carry her utensils and her wooden coffee table, so please just bear with us son, allow us to start this journey, please.

When she finished talking to him the pastor prayed and the driver was asked to start the car and the car started this time and they went to shags in peace.

Elkanah chuckles when I tell him this story because I’ve dramatized it a bit. “I see you are from my sides of the country.”

“Well, sort of, I’m from South Nyanza, not Western.”

“Those beliefs are there and unfortunately I don’t know if they are true or not.” he says. “What I know is that every person has a right to faith in whatever they chose. Let nobody lie to you that it’s only Africans who have beliefs. White people and Asians also have strong beliefs. Some stronger than us. I have seen white men who have requested me to leave this room so that they can stay alone with their deceased and they stay here for five hours talking to their loved one. There are people who believe they can communicate with the dead. There are people who visit the graveyard with flowers and spend hours there, sitting there talking to their departed. Why? Beliefs are complicated and everyone is entitled to what they believe.”

“Would you prepare the body of your own child?” I ask.

“Yes.” he says. “I don’t believe anyone else would prepare it the best way like I could. I think that would be the last thing I can do for them. But there is only one body I can’t handle; my mother’s body, for the reason that we are Africans and out of respect we can’t see our mother’s nakedness.”

“Is your mom alive?”

“She died.”

“Who handled her body?”

“A colleague called Katana, he no longer works here. He was the one who trained me, everything I learned I learnt from him.” he says. “When my mother died I was working here. The hospital extended a courtesy to me and allowed me to keep her body here. Her body stayed in the freezer here for over a week and each morning I would come to work and open the freezer and look at her. The most difficult part was working, going about my business knowing that my mother was in the freezer in the room. It was very difficult. I didn’t cry the whole time, until the day of the burial. That was the first time I ever cried in my adult life and it’s never happened since.”

I ask him what he has learnt working as a mortician for 15-years.

“No deaths are ever the same. I never handle anyone’s grief as the same. There is always a background that you don’t know of. I have also learnt never to pretend that I understand anyone’s pain. I never tell them sorry, I have learnt to say ‘take heart’. God always knows why things happen but you can’t tell that to someone grieving because some people don’t believe in God, so you have to be very careful what you tell them. The best you can do is give them hope and sometimes that means you just stand there respectfully and say nothing.”

“Silence is powerful,” I say. “It sometimes says more than words.”

“Exactly,” he says.

Elkanah is 43-years now. He doesn’t want to retire doing what he’s doing now. As many people in their 40’s do, he’s asking himself, what next? What can I do that’s mine? He says it’s tempting to walk away from employment and open his own thing that is in line with what he does now but he believes that “it would be a waste of life to have one experience in life.” He wants to raise his children, he says and give them a better education than he had. I ask him what he wants of them and he says, “Let kids choose their own paths, don’t dream for your children. I don’t want to tell them what to do as long as they are happy doing whatever they choose.”

“Has working in this ‘dark’ environment changed how you live your life?” I ask him.

He thinks about it for a tad. “No. Have you ever met a chest doctor or physician who smokes? Or a tailor who has a tear in his clothes? Of course they are many. Why would a doctor smoke and not even exercise when they know the dangers better than anyone else? We will all die no matter how careful we are. You will eat vegetables and avoid fat but you will end up here. If your heart loves meat, eat meat. There is no guarantee that avoiding meat or alcohol or bread will prolong your life. Enjoy life, be happy. Also don’t let other people dictate the life that you live, or wait for their approval, you will live like a slave. If I lived for others’ approval I wouldn’t be working here, I would be so scared of what people think of me.”

He’s active in the trade union circles. Occasionally he plays football at a field near City Market. He loves football, is a great supporter of AFC Leopards and Arsenal. He isn’t much of a drinker, but on the occasions that he drinks with his friends he drinks a Pilsner. Today, being Friday, he will conclude his sabbath readings and participate in sabbath school the next day, Saturday. He doesn’t work Saturdays, so please try and not be his client then.

“What do you fear the most?”

“Death,” he says. “It’s because of how we are raised as human beings; we are raised to fear fear death. Death makes everyone equal. Over the years I have seen many people in that freezer, from the very wealthy, the who’s whos to the unknowns. It doesn’t matter who you are, there are times that a powerful person is on my table, dead, and I think to myself, this man is helpless now -with all that power and money he doesn’t even have a name anymore, he’s called a body.”

“I’m surprised that doesn’t change how you live your life…”

“Well, it makes you humble,” he says. “Makes you know that you are nothing really. You can go. Nobody can buy immunity to death. Two things you can’t win – God and death.”

The best part of his job is when someone bereaved tells him “thank you.” “It’s better than money because it’s genuine,” he says. “‘Thank you’ is better than ‘please’, you know why?”

“No.” I want to giggle, answering rhetorical questions. Surely, I must annoy him.

“Because ‘please’ is mostly a matter of courtesy, but if someone is in sorrow or pain because they have lost someone and they tell you thank you with tears in their eyes they mean it.”

His phone rings again and he tells the other person that he’s on his way. I guess I have to let him go. I ask him, “When you die, like we all will, do you have a preferred freezer here that you would like to be put into?”

He chuckles. “Oh, yes. So we have two freezers, each with three compartments. One of them is newer than the other. That’s where I would prefer to be kept. I have a favorite freezer and even my colleagues know it. I told them that if I die and someone is in that freezer they should be removed to allow me to be there.”

“Oh, boy,”

“It’s not a big deal. It’s like your favourite spot in church!” he laughs as we leave the room. “Don’t you always go to sit in your favorite place in church? Same thing!”

Outside, in the corridor, we make small talk. You know, the weather and things. I ask him if I can get in the morgue to look around. He says no. I say, I will be fast, just a quick look. He says that’s against policy. Oh well. I shake his hand in goodbye and tell him it was a pleasure and refreshing talking to him. He says, “It was very nice.” Then I say, “We shall meet again, I’m sure, hopefully when I still have a pulse.”

He laughs heartily. I made the mortician laugh! I’m done. I’m validated. I don’t care if Tamms never laughs at my jokes.

168 Responses
  • Georgina
    06.03.2018

    loool… i have never been a first. this is funny. now i get to craze

    6
  • RightAngledCircle
    06.03.2018

    Amerigo … How we’ve always thought of Morticians as Misfits

    https://rightangledcircle.wordpress.com/2018/03/05/misfits/

    3
  • TheBlackKennedy
    06.03.2018

    I can only imagine what the loss of a child does to one’s soul and outlook on life…

    God has a complicated way of presiding over our lives.

    Thank God people like Elkanah are there to help soften the blow… Yes, life continues even in death.

    P/S: The Godfather trilogy is not just the best set of books ever written but also the best sequel of movies ever. No argument. Best ever.

    35
  • Kidamakana
    06.03.2018

    Wow, different read an eye opener for sure.

    4
  • Clifford
    06.03.2018

    Lovely article, as usual. I agree with the part of small children’s death. The most painful funerals I have attended is one of small kids.

    8
    • Jimmy karago
      06.03.2018

      I agree

  • Waithera
    06.03.2018

    Yes, utter respect to morticians. When my brother died, I couldn’t for the life of me find it in my heart to go see him in the morgue. . . I just couldn’t.

    So, thank you to the kind person who took care of him the 5 days he was there. Thank you!

    18
  • Beth
    06.03.2018

    Thank you really is a very good universal language. Makes everything worth it. And Tamms will laugh at your jokes one day,Biko. Don’t worry.
    Wonderful read.

    7
  • Mindie
    06.03.2018

    i once met the guy who comes ti dispose bodies of infants, you know premie kids etc the ones the hospital deals with rather than the family. i think this job….it takes heart

    • Sila's
      08.03.2018

      That made my heart ache.

  • Anitah
    06.03.2018

    ‘it would be a waste of life to have one experience in life’….. Too deep..everything about this article today. WoW!! Clearly no one is an expert on death, damn!! Whatever happened to the 2year old chinese smokin’ baby..
    Good read Biko, as usual. Now the Tuesday can begin!

    16
    • Lesobet
      06.03.2018

      Ati ‘with his three followers(Uhuru etc) I doubt he’ll ever reach Canaan!’ I literally burst out laughing at this part!

      3
  • Irene
    06.03.2018

    Wauh!

  • abdullah omar
    06.03.2018

    Every death is unique, and that’s what is fascinating about it, that no two cases are the same. just as in a Tolstoy
    family

    6
  • Yusuf
    06.03.2018

    Haha….I’ve always beleived that people who work in the morgue must smoke some strong weed before they go to work.

    4
  • John jim
    06.03.2018

    If you not doing what you love,love what you doing it might lead you to what you love.
    I love how this guy loves his work though it seems an odd job to many.
    He is so positive about life.
    Good read

    10
  • Bumble Bee
    06.03.2018

    1. Eating carrots is fun Biko!
    2. 5 4″ is not an average height for a man. That is a short man. 5 8″ may be more average than 5 4″.
    3. Anyone feeling generous to gift me, ‘The Godfather’? I watched the movie and feel like I missed out on a lot.
    4. I shall follow Elkana on Twitter.
    5. A man is still a man, and bless his heart for treating our departed with respect.
    One thing I’ve mastered in practising this year is treating everyone, regardless of status, as a human being at heart. Craving love and acceptance, curious and passionate about something, favourite songs that they listen to, butterflies in their stomach when their crush passes by. We are only human.

    71
    • Wesh - Peter Wesh
      06.03.2018

      Eating carrots is not fun.

      5
      • Ocampo
        07.03.2018

        Hi Wesh, we are still waiting to hear about the Webum(Wesh & Bumble bee) wedding. Any progress??

        10
        • GAKII
          08.03.2018

          Webum? Bumesh? Wemble? hehe

          1
          • Aleki
            14.03.2018

            Wembe

            2
    • Pamela
      06.03.2018

      He said 5 4″ is average in Congo (men there are short)…

      2
    • Judith Kamau
      11.03.2018

      Thank you to number 1.

  • David Mwenda
    06.03.2018

    I should look for Amerigo one day and read it I hate movies made out of books they are just a bore.

    6
    • TheBlackKennedy
      06.03.2018

      Trust me, “The Godfather” movie trilogy is out of this world.

      Start with the book, then do the movie; or vice versa… You will appreciate the craftsmanship therein.

      #BestSetOfBooksEver #BestMovieTrilogyEver

      3
    • Francis
      06.03.2018

      Mario Puzo’s The Godfather.. that’s the book.

      2
    • shiru shiru
      10.05.2018

      mwenda you are right.movies do nto do justice to the authors

  • Mamacita
    06.03.2018

    Nice read but i had no idea that SDAs drink alcohol .This is new.In Uganda if a church member suspects that you are thinking about touching a bottle of alcohol,there will be an urgent church board meeting that day.

    35
    • Pwahahaha…mamacita that is funny!

      1
    • Betty R
      06.03.2018

      As a fellow SDA…I totally agree!! Emergency church board meeting at 7.am to discuss your seriousness as a Christian

      3
    • Maraga
      07.03.2018

      Alcohol is a choice, like you choose foods to eat.

      1
    • tracysereti
      07.03.2018

      hahahahaha. Because it’s 2018. Lol.

      2
    • Sash
      08.03.2018

      LOL, sounds like my church

    • Susan
      08.03.2018

      Alcohol or no alcohol when you land in those freezers you are neither SDA nor a non-believer! Just a body.

      3
    • Rachel
      09.03.2018

      church goers have evolved :-D, besides I think the drinking and emphasis on his being SDA was intentional.

  • Anthony
    06.03.2018

    Death makes us equal. Yes!

    4
  • Winnie
    06.03.2018

    That guy has great lines!

    Awesome read

    3
  • Simplicity
    06.03.2018

    Mmmmh! Good read.

  • Joe Deveraux
    06.03.2018

    Thank you for this.

    1
  • Wacera
    06.03.2018

    Biko you will go everywhere to get us good stories, and you never disappoint.

    37
  • Lauryn
    06.03.2018

    It humbles you… in death we are all equal….

    2
  • Mushie
    06.03.2018

    We will all die no matter how careful we are. ……#word

    I made the mortician laugh! I’m done. I’m validated. I don’t care if Tamms never laughs at my jokes….haha

    8
  • alex simi
    06.03.2018

    “Nobody can buy immunity to death. Two things you can’t win – God and death.”

    9
    • Aketch
      25.05.2018

      That left me pondering

  • June
    06.03.2018

    “Death,” he says. “It’s because of how we are raised as human beings; we are raised to fear fear death. Death makes everyone equal. Over the years I have seen many people in that freezer, from the very wealthy, the who’s whos to the unknowns. It doesn’t matter who you are, there are times that a powerful person is on my table, dead, and I think to myself, this man is helpless now -with all that power and money he doesn’t even have a name anymore, he’s called a body.”

    “I’m surprised that doesn’t change how you live your life…”

    “Well, it makes you humble,” he says. “Makes you know that you are nothing really. You can go. Nobody can buy immunity to death. Two things you can’t win – God and death.”

    THIS HAS MADE ME MORE HUMBLE(NO IDEA IF THIS IS CORRECT ENGLISH/GRAMMAR AND YES I KNOW I AM USING CAPS)

    7
  • Aisha
    06.03.2018

    Boy! Oh boy! this is such a beautiful story. Even though most of us fear death, this gentleman, Elkanah makes it look beautiful.

    2
  • Mr Karmitant
    06.03.2018

    Very well done. For a Moment I forgot you are in the morgue or close to it.

  • Kinaga
    06.03.2018

    Enyewe kazi ni Kazi.

    1
  • Wa Mso
    06.03.2018

    Nice read.
    Elkanah is full of wisdom….so many highlights in the article. Your job is what you make it to be-forget about what others think about it. As he says when asked if he was scared that his date would be spooked, “…“No,” he says. “ I would have been scared if I saw what I do as less.”

    To Jo, take heart for the loss of your daughter: She’ll be there – https://youtu.be/QroHzvbWQnw

    That defiant boy’s mother conversation made my day

    3
  • Nava
    06.03.2018

    Oh the day Tamms laughs at your jokes…self actualization

  • Wesh - Peter Wesh
    06.03.2018

    “He sometimes sees people who succumb to death from driving drunk and he looks at them lying on the cold slab with cuts and bruises and blood that long clotted in their brains and heart and he says it’s the most selfish way to die because you leave behind people with pain”.

    Do not leave your loved ones behind with pain. It is selfish.

    I have always wanted to hear a story of a Mortician because of the weird tales you just told of dramatic dead people. I partly grew up in a mixed community and this one time someone’s aunt stole a nephew’s body from the wake to take it to the actual ushago because apparently the body was unhappy with the current wake! I had so many questions.

    7
    • Kris
      09.03.2018

      what? That is just so odd. How did she know the boy was unhappy?

  • Waithira
    06.03.2018

    We will all die no matter how careful we are. You will eat vegetables and avoid fat but you will end up here. If your heart loves meat, eat meat. There is no guarantee that avoiding meat or alcohol or bread will prolong your life. Enjoy life, be happy. Also don’t let other people dictate the life that you live, or wait for their approval, you will live like a slave. If I lived for others’ approval I wouldn’t be working here, I would be so scared of what people think of me.” This resonates with me….

    8
    • Nancy
      06.03.2018

      Me too..

  • Njambi
    06.03.2018

    I should thank him for taking care of my husband when he was at agakhan. He looked dignified even with the gunshot wounds. He looked like the guy I knew and love even on that cold table. Thank you.

    33
  • Allan
    06.03.2018

    Looking at that woman I realised that there is hope for everyone even when there seems no sign of hope. Life continues even in death.

    Everyone of us, IS A STORY.

    1
  • Njugush
    06.03.2018

    treat everyone with dignity because they are special to someone.
    when someone says thank you with tears in their eyes they mean it….goood read as always

    1
  • Grace
    06.03.2018

    ” Death makes everyone equal. Over the years I have seen many people in that freezer, from the very wealthy, the who’s whos to the unknowns. It doesn’t matter who you are, there are times that a powerful person is on my table, dead, and I think to myself, this man is helpless now -with all that power and money he doesn’t even have a name anymore, he’s called a body.”

    Death doesn’t care who the hell we were/are. What a great read on such a day

    3
  • Lydia
    06.03.2018

    “I don’t care if Tamms laughs at my jokes” ….Tamms should one day write a piece as to why she does not find humour in her father’s jokes. The best thing we can give to the departed is Respect in their send off. Thank you Elakanah for your gentle and kind practice. I have encountered morticians who are not as kind and gentle to the dead. Thank you Biko for this piece.

    4
  • Marie Key
    06.03.2018

    Thank you @bikozulu…for always making my Tuesdays a tad bit brighter…

  • Kanali Okusi
    06.03.2018

    Thank you Biko for this!

    Carrots ain’t fun.

    1
  • Kadonye
    06.03.2018

    I like what he said about faith and belief; I had a Jehovah’s witness once tell me that the dead are dead and that they can’t hear us, until the judgment day when we all arise to answer for how we lived. But I believe that the dead have life – they can see and hear and feel. So if your talking to your dead parent’s grave, they hear you…they just can’t respond.

    1
    • Brian
      08.03.2018

      Look at JW.ORG if you want to know more about where the dead are.

      1
  • Jen
    06.03.2018

    Looking at the date in the comments and I cannot believe that we are in March already! The doc is right… there is really nothing that one can do to prolong life or prevent death (or even terminal illnesses leading to death. Ask Jackie Kennedy). It comes when it comes. The only thing that is for sure other than death is God.

  • Grace
    06.03.2018

    Have just started looking for that book then I’ll do the movie laters.nice read

  • Sheila
    06.03.2018

    Always here every Tuesday! Am in awe every time. You are truly a gifted writer.

    1
  • Njoki
    06.03.2018

    Nice read

  • Black Panther
    06.03.2018

    Deep calls to deep..the article/ topic of death touched something in my innermost being. Better to be in a house of mourning than a house of feasting; lessons there are not quickly forgotten. We are all closer to the grave with each passing day..

  • “No deaths are ever the same. I never handle anyone’s grief as the same. There is always a background that you don’t know of. I have also learnt never to pretend that I understand anyone’s pain.”
    Before I experienced personal loss, it seemed mind-boggling to have the right word to say to those who were bereaved. I can’t say I have the right words now but experiencing losses has helped some. You learn mostly to empathize, to support. I recently lost my mum and would read into people’s actions. The ones who said, we’ll be your mum now miffed me because mum was and is irreplaceable, no one can replace the sum of who she was to me. She was the most pragmatic as well as crazy (good crazy) human being I have ever known. When my grandma died, she wasn’t going to spend time raising funds. Mum got a coffin, loaded it into the car and drove all the way from Nairobi to shags with it. I miss her stories, and often laugh at the memory of things she said.
    There are those who truly walk with the bereaved. I could watch ladies who would suddenly appear and be chopping veggies, or cooking ugali for guests. There are two of mum’s friends from her church who moved into our home and just begun to cook, to clean and to support us; listening to our dialogues, eating breakfast with us and just being there for us.
    Grieving is a process and reactions to each loss experienced is different. I can truly say God has borne us as on eagles wings, because the loss of a strong matriach is a loss amplified, and you feel there’s a huge vacuum in the world, that there’s been a great emptying and some days you wake up peaceful that mum is rested, without discomfort and other days, you refuse to accept it, you wish you could just go back in time if only to be with her once more.

    24
    • Nelle
      06.03.2018

      You have explained exactly what I am feeling. I lost my grandma on the morning of 25/02/2018. We were incredibly close and the talk of ‘be strong’ ‘it is well’ has been tough to hear. Loved ones are truly irreplaceable.

      1
    • Murithi Murithi
      06.03.2018

      Caroline, I don’t know how to comfort you, but your mum is home, where we all belong. Take heart.

      2
    • Shaz
      08.03.2018

      Take heart Carol… Losing a loved one is so painful, sometimes traumatizing.

  • Rose
    06.03.2018

    God bless him.
    I watched the Movie am yet to read the book and I shall.

  • Michael Muyoma
    06.03.2018

    That death is an equalizer and that no two experiences are ever similar. That is true. And it is also true that there is nothing enough of comfort that you can tell a grieving soul that would be cathartic… Death shakes everyone to the core of their entire being. But we can give hope, silently and in our own way assure that time is a healer of wounds, however long it takes, and that the final enemy that shall be defeated is death.

  • Sare
    06.03.2018

    That part about the Probox … he he he!

    2
  • Matumbo_Ya_Thate
    06.03.2018

    ….. there is hope for everyone even when there seems no sign of hope. Life continues even in death.

  • Suleiman
    06.03.2018

    Your description of the mortician was cruel, your expectations and description is unfair…

  • Mary
    06.03.2018

    I love the part which Says no matter how you live your life you always end up dead. It has changed my view on life. Live,eat and enjoy life

  • Doug
    06.03.2018

    all together – altogether, old man.

  • Beatrice
    06.03.2018

    This article has changed my thinking of morticians, they are people just like us and they are nice, they do not need to be drunk .

    1
  • Wanjiku
    06.03.2018

    Naughty YOU!!! “referably someone fat and black – falling in the rain. Because there is no fun in watching a thin white person fall in the rain, it’s like eating carrots.”

    By the way… “…I didn’t even know she had lost a child” unless I don’t know the definition of a friend, one would really know some of these things of a friend.

    The story is very captivating. I would love to be handled (my body) by Elkanah.

    2
  • Manka
    06.03.2018

    But those shoes are depressing. Did someone jump into the water leaving them behind?

    3
    • Lykah
      07.03.2018

      This story had brought about mixed feelings. I ain’t sure what I am supposed to feeling but weirdly I find you comment funny.

      2
  • The Granny's Corner
    06.03.2018

    Whatever you find to do with your hands, do it with all might, The Lord commanded.

    1
    • Rubie
      07.03.2018

      And may whatever your hands get to do, prosper

      1
  • Michael
    06.03.2018

    In writing about death, you have also been able to give some truths about life itself or I could be reading too much into it. Nonetheless, we are all entitled to our beliefs.

    1
  • Mo
    06.03.2018

    No deaths are the same..two things you can’t win God and death such an eye opening read..

    Can’t wait for the day”article “that Tamms will start finding your jokes funny..

  • Mkash
    06.03.2018

    “We will all die no matter how careful we are. You will eat vegetables and avoid fat but you will end up here. If your heart loves meat, eat meat. There is no guarantee that avoiding meat or alcohol or bread will prolong your life. Enjoy life, be happy. Also don’t let other people dictate the life that you live, or wait for their approval, you will live like a slave. ”
    Double like!
    #YOLO

    3
  • Nkatha
    06.03.2018

    You’ve made great journeys Biko to bring us stories, I particularly appreciate this journey… one, your story is authentic not reported, it respects Jo’s whatsapp message…bless your soul… and you handle for and with us a topic too dicey for many…(read me), to handle.
    Big up to Elkanah..

    2
  • Muigai
    06.03.2018

    wao..Good Job baba Tamms…This is a nice read…Someday,Tamms will laugh at your funny jokes..hehee

  • Carthy
    06.03.2018

    Interesting read.
    God bless your heart Elkanah. The work you do is not cut out for most and yet you do it to the best of your ability, in a most dignified manner. Kudos.

  • Mercy
    06.03.2018

    When my mum passed away, my dad, sister and i went to the morgue to get the results of the postmortem. The staff at the morgue were really kind but what stood out most to me was the pathologist.

    First, he came late and apologized profusely. He gave a story of how seeing as it was a Saturday his wife had borrowed the car to go shopping and typical of ‘women behavior’ took longer than she should have so he ended up getting stuck in traffic. In spite of the sadness we were in he made us laugh. He then said that he needed us to answer a few questions about mum before he did the postmortem. A history of sorts and he again he apologized to us and told us that he knew that it would be difficult for us at the time but he needed us to be brave enough to answer the questions.

    Empathy, all you need is to show empathy and respect for what people who are going through with the loss of a
    loved one and you make a world of difference. I don’t remember the pathologist’s name but i will forever remember how kind he was to us and how he patiently listened to us and answered our questions. Thank you Sir.

    14
  • gilly kimaruy
    06.03.2018

    waiting for black man to fall in rain . what an embarrassing thing .

  • Ivy Ivyh.
    06.03.2018

    Well two things we ever win, God and death.
    Moral of the story.
    Stay humble.

  • Peetah
    06.03.2018

    “Also don’t let other people dictate the life that you live, or wait for their approval, you will live like a slave. If I lived for others’ approval I wouldn’t be working here, I would be so scared of what people think of me.”

    My biggest take out. Wise words Elkanah.

    2
  • cece
    06.03.2018

    truly an eye opener – when dad died all i could say is he is a body and soon manure., but when aunty died while i was 10. it broke me and i vowed to be mortician to dress them well and lovely send off

  • Sir Elvis Mayaka
    06.03.2018

    Such an eye opener and the way kitambo we used to hear those stories ati Morticans have to like smoke weed while at work to avoid nightmares at night. lol at myself

  • Dennis Writes
    06.03.2018

    “…..He doesn’t work Saturdays, so please try and not be his client then.” … Not funny Biko. Not Funny at all.

    1
    • Lykah
      07.03.2018

      Haha.

  • Stained Soul
    06.03.2018

    Death. And bereavement I don’t know how to handle. I just show up and keep quiet you’ll remember seeing me but you wont remember anything that I said because I won’t let out a squeak and paradoxically I have accepted that death is a certainty and don’t fear it.
    How/where does one donate their bodies to scientists?

    1
    • G
      07.03.2018

      I also have the same question, I would like to donate my parts.. how do you go about it? Who do you tell??

      1
  • Shillah Raymond
    06.03.2018

    If you love meat, eat meat….. And am off

    1
  • Njeri
    06.03.2018

    Great interview. Loved reading this.

    1
  • Nanc'
    06.03.2018

    I so feel and identify with you, Caroline. Mom’s been gone 10 yrs this November and time has not erased all the mixed emotions, memories I have every so often……….. Let us take heart, as advised by our dear friend, Elkanah.

    1
  • Nanc'
    06.03.2018

    Biko, you are a great writer. There is no single piece I have not enjoyed reading. You have a way with words. Keep writing……… I’ll keep reading.

    1
  • Selina
    06.03.2018

    Be Humble

  • Murithi Murithi
    06.03.2018

    Sigh! Human stories that make us think of our own mortality. That aside, uncle Biko, what a thirsty gang you’re breeding here. They’ll read the main story but still read the entire comments… Lol

    6
  • Resident Vet
    06.03.2018

    Amerigo Bonasera was revered,he did great fixing the Don. Don who in death says “life is beautiful”. And i love it when Michael meticulously silences the Barzini and Tattaglia families with one master stroke. Was it touching when Mike was struck by the “thunderbolt”, long live Luca Brasi and the Godfather

    1
  • Joy May
    06.03.2018

    My Mum was a patient to Elkanah about a year and a half ago

    Thank You Elkanah

    1
  • Tabilyn
    06.03.2018

    Today, I’ve understood the story lines of the god father. Maybe I was too young then to understand it past their generous use of bad language. You did it justice.

    You gave life to the lifeless profession. I’ve always believed they are not normal people. How can you be normal when you are always surrounded by death?

    1
  • LMJ
    06.03.2018

    Loyal reader. I learn something new every time.

  • Jay
    06.03.2018

    I have been a silent reader for over 3 yrs with no comments till today. I met Elkanah in December 2017 and He was so helpful in so many proportions. I had to confirm that I still have his number while reading this and I still do.

    Thank you Elkanah. You are an amazing man.

    1
  • Ythera
    06.03.2018

    This made me remember the day Mum died. It rained that whole afternoon till the next morning. As I type this, it’s raining hard and I can’t help thinking, does water seep into the coffin on nights like these?

    1
  • Victor Oluoch
    07.03.2018

    So are we gonna eat meat because we love meat and Elkanah said so?

  • King
    07.03.2018

    I answer rhetorical questions thinking it’s polite, kumbe it’s the opposite
    Anyway, Great read as usual

  • Francis Wachira
    07.03.2018

    Death is humbling. He comes across as a decent guy, a good friend to have in your corner.

  • Zack Mwangi
    07.03.2018

    I know Elkanah ,great guy.

    2
  • gideon
    07.03.2018

    I lost my wife 3 years ago at Aga Khan and most likely was attended by him. Thanks alot.

  • Mwaniki M
    07.03.2018

    He handled my brother very well 4 year ago.Thank you Elkanah… Hey Biko, kindly assist me with his number…

  • G
    07.03.2018

    Respect for mortuary attendants.. I remember my own experience, in a public hospital mortuary, had gone to check on my mum.. the guy was very busy taking tea and bread.. so early in the morning surrounded by bodies.. :-D, my mum had a small cut just above the left eye.. she had fallen on some rocks right before she died, I asked the attendant to clean her on the day of her funeral.. which he graciously did, I have never had the courage to go back and thank him though.. I have however never forgotten the sight of two small babies directly above my mum.. it haunts me to date…

  • wamugi
    07.03.2018

    He drinks a Pilsner. Am smiling, wait am giggling.. Okey am so happy, because i also take a Pilsner. http://www.tuketi.co.ke\uncategorized

  • Resident Vet
    07.03.2018

    Godfather is wonderful, Don Michael finally avenges his father and brother by taking down the Barzini and Tattaglia families and Carlo included.
    Death of a child is heart rending

  • Dottie
    07.03.2018

    Nobody who gets in that room on their backs leaves on their feet………… awuoro piny! (Silent)

    Biko this is indeed a great read and as usual you never disappoint am more humbled with all that i have read above even though i have lost both parents all i can say is that death is very painful and like Elkanah i never tell the bereaved it’s OK or am sorry because you will never understand one’s pain not even among your siblings

  • Tina
    07.03.2018

    Informative story. I appreciate all morticians out there. Last weekend, was my aunt’s burial.And by coincidence,she was buried on her birthday;2nd March. She was well presented in her coffin,you thought she was just asleep. I appreciate people like Elkanah,because not all of us have the courage to work in such places. God bless them. ION, live your life as you best wish,enjoying all that can be enjoyed, for no one knows the day nor the hour,only God does.

  • Jakk.
    07.03.2018

    What’s up Biko.
    Your website footer still reads “Bikozulu 2017”.
    You might want to update that. (W)

    And then, visit soundcloud.com/jakk-quill-ke and press play. (T)

    (W)elcome and (T)hanks.

  • “Silence is powerful,” I say. “It sometimes says more than words.”
    NO WORDS…

    1
  • Wambui.
    07.03.2018

    Awesome Read.

    Ecclesiastes 3 :1-2 There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die,
    vs.18 I also said to myself, “As for humans, God tests them so that they may see that they are like the animals. 19 Surely the fate of human beings is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath[c]; humans have no advantage over animals. Everything is meaningless. 20 All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return. 21 Who knows if the human spirit rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth?”
    Stay Humble.
    22 So I saw that there is nothing better for a person than to enjoy their work, because that is their lot. For who can bring them to see what will happen after them?

    1
  • Louis Wamukoya
    07.03.2018

    Nice read.

  • Louis Wamukoya
    07.03.2018

    As always, great read..

  • Koki Kinagwi
    07.03.2018

    Great read Biko! Reminds me of my first day in Medical School. I took myself for an introductory tour of the Chiromo morgue to prepare mentally for what was coming. It was a shocker and you realize then that surely there is more to life than just living. Indeed, death makes everyone equal and what really matters when your time is up and you are lying there naked, is how you lived your life.

    2
  • clete
    07.03.2018

    THANK you, Barrymy customer essay

  • Chrenyan
    07.03.2018

    Alternative title, possibly: “They die of death.”

  • Patricia
    07.03.2018

    You went armed with prejudice………don’t we all.

    In the end, we are all equal. Please continue handling your clients with respect, everyone deserves that.

    1
  • Paul
    07.03.2018

    Humbling story. Thanks, Chocolate Man.

    On a different note, “How the driver started the car severally and the car just wouldn’t start.”

    “Severally” means “separately” and not “several times”.

    Just me being a grammar freak. Sorry.

    1
    • Jim2001ke@Gmail.com
      08.03.2018

      That’s ok Paul you are damn right no need for apologies.

  • Wairiuko
    07.03.2018

    You asked the mortician: “Do you ever carry work home?”

    Biko, you are a badass gallows humorist.

  • Caleen
    08.03.2018

    I don’t know why I haven’t watched The Godfather movie but Amerigo Bonasera was a good mortician and thank God it’s all the Godfather Coleon had to ask of him. God bless morticians, what would we do without them!

  • General Zod
    08.03.2018

    The Godfather! Wow. The best line yet, when the Godfather shows Bonasera his dead son and says, “See how they massacred my boy”.

  • JM
    08.03.2018

    Well in. Erudite article. This guys has morenose for human interest news than so called journalists with acres and acres of space in weekly columns.

  • Vicky
    08.03.2018

    I think people who right are brave. I enjoy Biko because he talks about stuff that is all around us but mostly in our minds. I like to read your articles when I have time so I can slowly let it sink in as I brood over what comes up in there.

  • GAKII
    08.03.2018

    Elkana really sounds conditioned. Please remember his laugh and your sense of validation the next time Tamms does not laugh at your (HILARIOUS) dad jokes. Then please tell us about it.lol

    “..favorite songs that will continue playing in their absence..”

  • Nyokabi
    08.03.2018

    Great, great piece, Biko…not the morbidity but the humanity that seeps through. Your characters are always normal human beings but you have a way of nudging out the best in them.

  • Grace
    09.03.2018

    Oh boy! Just finished writing an article on loss for my blog and then I bumped into this on Facebook. Meer coincidence? Idk. Thank you Biko for this.

  • King Herod
    09.03.2018

    Wow. Now I am on this blog, too.

  • Rachel
    09.03.2018

    I have read this in three days, it has got me laughing, crying and just rethinking several things in my life…I’m glad to be alive and heartfelt condolence to all the grieving people out there…it never gets easy!

  • Ken Boychild
    09.03.2018

    “Amerigo” Mwinami is a colleague in pathology & boy oh boy…. If there’s one thing life has taught us is to be humble… I think if all our fat govt tenderpreneurs who siphon the govt dry knew that on the freezer day they will be empty handed, then we’ll all strive to improve the lives of each other

    • Jo
      10.03.2018

      Amerigo Mwinami ? Very funny

  • Catherine Muia
    09.03.2018

    I will have to read this Godfather! Great story Biko!

  • Hajj Sulei
    09.03.2018

    What a great read Biko! Thank you.

  • Jay Bosire
    09.03.2018

    This is a wonderful caption. I work with this guy Elkana, but I didn’t know this bit. so inspirational.
    Bravo

  • Elmad
    09.03.2018

    Well said……. Nobody can buy immunity to death. Two things you can’t win – God and death.

  • T.Otieno
    10.03.2018

    That coldness about morticians dissolved. Another good read.

  • Kym kynoty
    10.03.2018

    Ooooh heavens!what a nice story.It cools your proud nerves for a moment.Humbles your living.And keeps the calmness in you about life.No matter what,you can not win against death.

  • Linda kims
    11.03.2018

    And just now, i predict tamms will start laughing at your jokes. Things happen when you’re not expecting. I know its odd that i say this but i lived the ending of the piece.
    Respect to Elkanah.
    Oh by the way, why do i so very much like the handwriting on this website? Dont answer Biko!

  • Liwen
    12.03.2018

    Thank you for the story Biko, my mum passed away in February this year, she was handled by Elkanah. He did a wonderful job, she was beautiful and looked lovely on her funeral.

    Indeed Elkanah is a humble gentleman with a kind and charismatic spirit. God bless his soul for undertaking such an occupation, it’s not for the faint hearted.

    Death awaits us all, I feared death up until my mum’s passing, now it has changed my whole perspective on how to handle life.

    It doesn’t matter who you are or what you’ve become but it’s what you do with the time you have been granted on this earth.

    We all share several things as human beings, our blood is red, we grieve and we shall leave this earth one day.

    Based on Elkanah’s story how do you want to be remembered? That’s my take away from this piece.

    Thank you Biko for the touching story.

    1
  • Ogakr
    13.03.2018

    Always chuckles me always. Thank you and I mean it.

  • Diana Gacheru
    13.03.2018

    This story has toured me to places I’ve not been: a physical morgue without being scared, opened my eyes to handling the bereaved, I’ve learnt. I’ve laughed. I’ve shared this story as if it’s my story haha. Much respect Elkanah. Thanks Biko!

  • Nelson
    13.03.2018

    Does he take work home? That killed me. Good article. I have come to respect all and sundry. We are all equal…death being the greatest equalizer

  • passerby
    14.03.2018

    how was he born in 1999 and has 15 years experience ? i started to wonder if if he started working in the morgue when he was 4.. till i read later that he is 43 and realized its one of Biko’s typos..or bad math.:-)

    1
  • Liz Wambeti
    14.03.2018

    A child’s death distraughts my feeble heart. I think of my death and that of my loved ones and I cry…because death is unpredictable and you never know when it will strike. May God bless people like Elkanah for giving them the strength to do what most of us don’t have the strength for.

  • Davy
    18.03.2018

    Nice article

  • Wams
    19.03.2018

    Loved it. Although prejudices remain : he spoke English comfortably… We wouldn’t say this of a surgeon/banker/white collar person.

  • Ken Kago
    19.03.2018

    Probably the last comment here…… but I once needed to ‘enquire’ of a pathologist. He asked me to find him outside one of the morgues where he is often called upon to conduct autopsies. He led me to a room (not too far from where those fridges are located) with a table and a chair and fetched me a visitor’s. This would prove helpful not too long hence, when I had to take the body of my late elder sister to the morgue. No unsurprisingly, a few days of seeing cadavers at the medical school, he told me, if one is cut out to be a doctor, one gets ‘used’ to seeing dead bodies but not … death! Wonder what a pathologist might tell you, Biko! Remember hearing of this cause of death ……. ‘shot himself in the head and then set himself ablaze’, from those slightly older than the rest of us! Trying talking to one, for us. Thanks.

  • Humourjunkie
    25.03.2018

    , “By the way, I don’t know why you don’t want to visit me in the ward, but if you want, come with this suit not a lab coat.” I think she’s being flirtatious or has dark humour because if Elkanah visits you in your ward wearing his lab coat, he’s coming to pick a dead body. Hopefully not yours

    This made my reading. I have a thing for dark humor i guess that is why i found this funnny too “It was very nice.” Then I say, “We shall meet again, I’m sure, hopefully when I still have a pulse.”

  • Duncan
    09.04.2018

    Quite intriguing yet it bubbles a mixed feeling toward the sensitive subject of life and death…That feeling is awesome as much as it is disturbing

  • Dan Okong'o
    15.04.2018

    Great read.Elkanah my primary school classmate was a brilliant guy,always on top of our class.It’s pleasant to read of his good work.

  • Nick26
    17.06.2018

    Oh my,Had to comment coz of Don Vito Corleone. Mario Puzo’s Godfather was a literature marvel,Also The Sicilian was superb. Nice piece Biko,death is a shadow always lurking besides our heels

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