Mombasa family grieves son after succumbing to virus in US

Wednesday, April 1st, 2020 00:00 |
Bishop Elisha Juma and his wife Mary Juma display a phone photo of their son Peter in Mombasa, yesterday. Photo/PD/NDEGWA GATHUNGU

Reuben Mwambingu @reubenmwambingu

Bishop Elisha Juma of Kenya Assemblies of God, Mombasa, and his wife Mary Juma recall receiving a call on March 20 from their son Peter Juma who was in New York, informing them that he had been taken ill with bouts of coughing.

The Bishop said Peter, 38, drove himself to hospital and shortly afterwards informed them that he had tested positive for Covid-19.

“We were not that worried because he had assured us that he will be fine and God was in control,” Bishop Juma says.

But what the family never expected was that this would be their last communication with their son, whose condition worsened and a week later he succumbed to the virus.

“On Saturday March 28, his sister Joyce Larry Mweti who is also in the US called to inform us of the worst; that Peter was dead,” recalls Bishop Juma.

As cases of Covid-19 continue to take a heavy toll on the US, which has become the epicentre of the virus, the family has already been notified that the body will be taken for cremation after Thursday.

“It is our wish to give our son a decent send- off and our only plea to the Government of Kenya and the United States is for us to be allowed to at least view the body and give our son a decent burial. 

However we have been told that mortuaries in the US are full to capacity and further preservation bodies is no longer a priority,” said the Bishop.

“It will be very bad if our first born son is cremated and we will never see him again. We want to pay him his last respects,” the family said.

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