A family from Kirwiro Village in North Imenti Sub-County in Meru County was forced to bury a banana stem after they were given a wrong body by Consolata Mission Hospital in Nkubu.
The now-deceased had been ailing for a while, before succumbing to his illness – and the burial date was set for Monday, January 9.
However, when the family went to take their loved one’s body, they were given a different one, leaving them confused.
And since they had already identified a burial site – and dug a grave, the ceremony had to continue nonetheless, only that they wouldn’t bury the wrong body, but a banana stem. This is according to Meru culture, says Dorsa Mugambi, the deceased’s kinsman.
The practice of burying a banana stem when a loved one’s body is missing, according to Meru culture, is believed to ward off ghosts from haunting a family that did not bury their kin on a date that had been set for the ceremony, especially when a grave had already been dug.
According to the deceased’s relative, Lydia Kendi, Consolata Mission Hospital in Nkubu was to blame as it failed to produce their loved one’s body, yet his body had been preserved at the facility.
According to another family member who spoke to eDaily, Consolata Mission Hospital has asked them to go collect their loved one’s body from the hospital on Tuesday 5pm following successful identification, which took place early Tuesday.
The deceased’s family had vowed to sue the hospital for giving them a wrong body, even after spending a chunk of money on preserving their loved one’s body at the facility.
The family further added it would seek compensation from the health facility since relatives and friends, who came from far and wide, had incurred transport and accommodation expenses, yet what brought them to the Kirwiro Village home did not materialize.
The deceased’s family members have, however, withdrawn their threat (temporarily), saying if they’d be given their loved one’s body Tuesday evening, they won’t pursue legal action against the hospital.
According to an elder, identified only as Nicholas, family members would convene a meeting to discuss whether they would exhume the banana stem and bury their loved one’s body in the same grave, or settle on another burial site.
Additional reporting by Martin Mwenda in Meru County