Thursday, January 24, 2013
Quote of the Day: “When one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language.” -- John Donne
Juliana's aunt died yesterday, so she is gone until next Monday. Funerals here require four days. The deceased is buried within 24 hours because there are no funeral homes and no embalming. Then there are three days of sitting with the survivors. Everything is done by the family. They purchase the coffin, wrap the body, and arrange the burial which may be at the house or in a cemetery. The women and the men stay separate with the women in the house weeping and the men outside standing around. The family and neighbors pass a hat to raise the funds for the burial expenses and the food to feed all those who traveled to come to the funeral. It also affects the neighbors because every neighbor is required to donate some money and to attend for some time. Also, no work is allowed near the house where the funeral is being held. When we were building our house, I came one day to inspect and found no one at work. Before I got too mad, someone explained to me that a neighbor's child had died. Karen and I have been to many funerals and sent staff members if we were too ill to attend. We also always send money to help pay for food as every funeral is a community project. It's a very pragmatic yet emotional event, and I rather like the way they do things. It was very similar with the Indian tribes in the Amazon where I worked on more than one occasion. Sincere, holy, emotional, and practical--not a bad way to go.