Our community has been struck with two deaths. One an elderly gentlemen and the other a young man.
The funerals are extremely important and an event so large it seems like all other life stops.
We missed the first lekso (funeral event). When we later visited the son who had just lost his father, I entered the gate first, shook his hand and expressed my condolences. I moved on and as I looked back, another man caught my eye and gestured to me to crouch down. One by one, as sympathies were expressed, the person would crouch down. By the time the late man entered, we were all in a low circle and then we just quietly crouched, occasionally someone would make a small sound of sympathy or a low moan. Heads wagged in remorse, hands of support would pat the back of the man in grief. I don’t know how long we would have stayed in that position if the army ants had not broken up our gathering.
It was a powerful moment for me as we just sat together in grief. No words, just crouching alongside. Sitting together and for just a few moments, sharing the burden of his pain.
Jon is currently at the lekso for the young man. My heart feels as gloomy as our gray skies. We pray for Shitu and his family and also that Words of hope and comfort could be shared and could reach his heart during this difficult time of processing.
The following photos were from a January lekso of a highly honoured Awi man. We do not normally take photos at these events but Jon was asked by our friend, the son of the deceased man, to record it all through snapshots and video.
Hundreds of horses were ridden.
There is much ceremony and tradition
Lining up his animal skins as a representation of his wealth
Hundreds in attendance
Let’s pray for hope in the midst of pain.