My job allows me to travel alot, especially around my beloved country Madagascar. It’s not great to leave my family behind, but I have no choice. We were just a group of 6 people, heading towards a pretty far countryside , near Mananjary.
” Nina , aren’t you excited about this trip. I never been so far from home.” José told her.
” In a way , I am. I really miss my children though.” she sighed. The road was really dusty and the car was absolutely uncomfortable.
“Why did the car suddenly stop, we haven’t even reached our destination yet?.” José asked their driver.
” Sorry, guys but we got a flat tire, I guess we have to walk by foot.” the driver told them.
” Yeah, right. I’m not gonna kill myself walking for miles in high heel shoes.” Nina complained.
” You don’t have a choice, i’m sure there’s a village near by. Come on , before it gets late. We better go look for help.” the driver told them.
Everyone obediently left the car and started walking, until they found a little village. The village people didn’t look happy to see these bunch of strangers coming towards them. It was a good thing that José knew their dialect, so it kind of relaxed them. They had been traveling since 6 am in the morning , and felt worned out. There weren’t any hotels there, so they had to stay in the village people’s homes. The weather was unbearably hot. The little huts infested with little blood sucking insects like ticks. Nina wanted to leave right away, wishing that she was back home in her comfortable home. It was sad to see such poverty. The village had to walk far to fetch water to drink in a little lake. At the same time , their zebus go there to drink and piss. Women also wash their laundries in the same water.
“Nina, come here, I want to tell you something. I think we came during a bad moment. The woman huddling near the door , just lost her husband.”
“But, José, she seems very poor and depressed. Why is she sitting there and her neighbors not comforting her?” Nina asked.
“They already know. I think they’re getting ready for the funeral.”
“Really, but no one is busy preparing it. It seems that everyone is just staying where they are and not doing anything about it.”
“I know, as you see this woman is very poor. It a great humiliation to be very poor and have someone die in your family. No one cares about you. Even your family members don’t want to bury you themselves.” José explained.
” Why don’t we go to see how the woman is. At least, we can try to comfort her.” NIna insisted.
They went inside the woman’s house and saw her dead husband lying on a mat on the floor. Just a few people surrounded him. No one was crying, just staring at him. A man told them not to sit near the door. So Nina and José took a place in the corner. After several minutes , the dead body started to move. Nina thought that her eyes were playing tricks on her. Suddenly , the dead man was in a sitting position. José knew that Nina was about to freak out. He held her hands to comfort her and told her to keep quiet and just watch. Another man handed the dead man a shovel. Before , they knew it the corpse was running out the door with the shovel. The other people just ran after it and shouting.
“Let’s go, Nina, to see what will happen next.” José said pulling Nina to her feet.
It wasn’t easy trying to catch up with them. By the time they got to the grave yard, the dead man was digging his own grave. It didn’t take him that long. After it was done, he dropped the shovel and fell into the hole. That was when the other village people covered the hole with land.
” Before , you say anything Nina. Let me explain to you that what you witnessed is their custom. Especially when a very poor person dies. They have to bury themselves. None of their families wants to bury them.”
“But , José, as his wife told us that her husband has been dead more than three days. How can he come back alive again and dig his own grave!! That’s impossible”
“Nina, here in Madagascar , anything is possible. You just have to see it with your own eyes to believe it.”