Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Joanna's funeral

We have just had an experience that we really didn't expect to have in Ecuador, nor did we want to have it, but have it we did so I hope you don't think I am crass telling you about it.

Today was Joanna funeral and very sad it was too. Actually it started last night when we went to the WAKE - of course this is not something we do in NZ so that was altogether new. Really it just involved going to the KH where Joanna was in her coffin and paying our respects. Today the coffin was still open (well there was plexi glass over the open bit) and when all her little class mates filed in and then up to the front to see her - it brought tears to all our eyes, even Mark. After the talk which Agenor, our PO, handled extremely well even using the Catholic Bible at one point - as a lot of the Morocho's extended family are Catholics, we went with G to the cemetary. We weren't going to go but it seemed rude not to when we were offered a ride. I am so glad we did as the cemetary was very interesting. There are some graves underground but mostly they are crypts stacked on top of one another. G explained that this is where the poor people go and it costs about $4.00 per month for the family. If after 4 years they can't or won't pay anymore the body is taken out and cremated and the crypt reused.

Once we got to the place where Joanna was to be placed - the coffin lid was reopened and it seemed that the non witnesses wanted their turn. They crowded around the casket, crossing themselves and touching the plexi glass. One lady started saying stuff really loudly - I of course couldn't understand what she was saying, but it was to do with ancestor worship. It was then Agenor had to step in and ask her to please respect Homero and Nancy's beliefs - he had to use a couple of scriptures to calm her down but she did and apologized, which as Mark pointed out would never have happened in NZ with a maori funeral. It would have just about caused a riot! Agenor went round and gave her a hug which was very sweet of him. So then the coffin was closed and slid into the crypt and a worker was there with a hammer and nails to seal it up. The saddest thing I heard was little Josue (her brother) ask "Donde estar Joanna?" (Where is Joanna). Of course we know the answer to that one - she is waiting in Jehovahs memory, having proved herself faithful even to death, for the wonderful hope of the resurrection.

On a brighter note - we are off on an adventure tomorrow with the Willis' and Andrews. We are flying up to Quito for 5 days and 4 nights so we are really looking forward to that - it will be nice to share the experience with our Gringo Friends and be tourists for a few days.

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