Tears flowed freely in Mbata village, Kathonzweni, Makueni county on Saturday as a family that lost their kin in the Ethiopian Airlines crash buried one kilogramme of soil they collected from the accident scene.
The soil packed in a small coffin measuring 30 centimetres by 12 centimetres was placed before hundreds of the tearful mourners, who turned up for the memorial service of the late Ann Mukui Munyao.
The church eulogised Mukui as a dedicated Catholic believer who dedicated her life to serving Christ. The mass was led by five priests, three from Consolata Shrines in Nairobi and two from Makueni.
The family led by the widower, Simon Munyao said they were forced to bury the portion of the soil they were given in place of the remains of their beloved one because of the long period the DNA samples might take before the final results are obtained.
With tears rolling down his cheeks, Munyao recounted the last moments he shared with his wife before the accident. He described his wife as God-fearing and one who often visited spiritual sites for prayers around the world.
“Ann was a God-fearing and focused woman. She attended mass daily wherever she was. She prayed rosary often alone or with us. She never lacked ideas when it came to prayers. She led prayers at home, in the car, inside and outside the church and everywhere,” Munyao said.
On the fateful day, Munyao said they exchanged text messages with her wife where she said she was connecting to Kenya through Ethiopia.
“On March 10, she sent me a text message saying she was grateful to God for granting her safe travel from Italy to Ethiopia. By 9:30am, we were at the airport with my children to receive her, but it never happened. At 4pm, I confirmed she was travelling in the plane that had crashed that morning,” Munyao said.
He said a change of events at last minute to travel to Italy together with her wife saved his life. “We were to travel the entire family, but cancelled the journey and she left alone. We could have all perished,” he said.
The late Anne is survived by three children, Monicah Mutheu, 7, Raphael Muuo, 4, and one-year-old Mary Mwende.
“Mum, your departure was too sudden, untimely and unexpected. Mum, intercede for us wherever you’re so that I become that girl you wanted,” said Mutheu, a Grade Two pupil at Oshwal Academy, Nairobi.
Just like any other burial, the “coffin” was lowered into a grave measuring one square metre. The Ethiopian airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8 plane crashed two weeks ago few minutes after taking off from Addis Ababa. It was heading to Nairobi when it crashed, killing all the 157 people on board.