Saturday, October 29, 2005

After the Burial

After the funeral all of the mourners made their way back to Boipelo's family home. As is expected at any funeral the family of the deceased provided food for all. A meal of papa (mealie meal/maize meal), meat and green vegetable was available for all the mourners.

The idea of feeding the mourners is something that is rooted in tradition. Unfortunately because of the HIV/AIDS pandemic the financial burden on some families is overwhelming. The costs of the morgue, undertaker, coffin etc are unavoidable but the custom of feeding the mourners is something that the people of Botswana, and neighbouring countries, perhaps need to address.

One gets the impression that a significant minority of mourners attend funerals in order to ensure that they are well fed. I guess this is understandable in those villages, like Boipelo's, that are blighted by poverty, but there are no winners with the current situation. All families are affected by the pandemic. All families are burying their children. All families are suffering not only with their loss but with the associated financial burden of saying goodbye to their children.

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