The funeral was just over a week ago, but I’ve been a little slow writing more about it, so here we go.
The day before the burial (Friday) was the day I walked out to Hoax’s house with one of our friends, Josh, and gave our “sorry” which I described previously. While we were there, this was the scene:
You can see Hoax’s mother’s house on the left decorated with banana trees that had been chopped down and stuck in recently dug holes. The dirt area is the “courtyard” in the middle of this area and it is surrounded by five our six houses. On the right edge beneath that pile of leaves is food that people had been bringing. Here is a closer look at the house on the left:
There were a number of groups of people just sitting around chatting and many of them were visitors from other areas. Unlike the people who live around us, they weren’t used to white people or our cameras, so they all wanted their pictures taken.
As we sat there a few groups came to contribute their own sorry. As groups arrived, they would put their contribution in the pile and then one representative would give a short speech about how they knew the lady who had died, how they would miss her and what they had brought. In this picture, the arriving group is toward the right between the two trees and the guy with his foot in the air is doing the speaking. Everyone else had gathered to listen.
Another part of the custom is the crying. As people (particularly ladies) would arrive, they would cry or wail as they approached. It was a little weird because they would make a big show, but then once they sat down, it was over. We’ve been told that one reason a person would cry like this is to let the spirit of the dead person know that he/she is sad about the death and had nothing to do with causing it. Here is short video of one such procession–they make a lot of noise without moving their mouths very much. Notice how no one seems phased by the crying (sorry for the bumpy video.)