I have never experienced what I am going through trying to inter my mother.
- Covid-19 ICU space shortage.
- Body bag shortage.
- Grave site shortage.
- Mortuary space shortage.
- Burial Services shortage.
My brother and I had to wait for 6 hours before a funeral parlor could pick up my mother’s body and take it to a mortuary. They were overwhelmed by the number of pickups they were doing.
Even then I only got mortuary space because I used my connections. Otherwise mortuaries are packed and bodies cannot be held for long.
Even body bags are in short supply. The poor guys who now took the body to the place where we secured mortuary space where exhausted. It was 20 hours and they were still transporting bodies. We unloaded my mother’s remains into the mortuary and another family were waiting to remove their body for embalming using the same funeral parlor we used.
I felt for the funeral parlor guys we worked with. I noticed their hands were discolored and the guy who saw me looking at his hands mentioned he had washed and sanitized and worn so many gloves in one day that his hands were that color.
We parted ways at 21 hours as they drove off into the night carrying yet another body to the funeral parlor.
We found that cemeteries are fully booked as well. I never expected in my life that I would be told you cannot bury someone within 48 hours. The issue is not the burial space but the overworked staff. They are working at maximum capacity.
I then found myself looking for a coffin. Sold out. Every coffin we could see on their premises was bought.
The funeral parlor also said their hearses and tents were fully booked for the next 48 hours.
We were now used to this story. Full mortuaries. Fully booked body transportation services. Fully booked cemeteries. Now fully booked funeral services. I now expect fully booked priests to perform funeral rites.
Death stalks Lusaka. The number of people dying per day is far above normal and services are strained.