Two weeks ago I was involved in what I would call a “real time moment.” I call it real time because it happened in real time and out of the blue. One of the kids that I have been mentoring and helping by paying his high school fees lost his father. This was a double tragedy considering that two years ago he had also lost his mother. His aunt who lives in the rural part of western Kenya called me to let me know. I was the one to break the bad news to the 16 year old boy who lives with me. After calling his closest friends around, I broke the news to him and arranged for three people including myself to accompany him for the burial. This was to take place 450 kilometers away from Nairobi.
As we were traveling, I recalled talking to his dad while he was still alive and how he emphasized that I should not give up on his son who at the time was skipping classes. This was not my son and I didn’t understand why he was telling me all that. He was the father and he was supposed to be more responsible than me, at least that is what I thought. Little did I know at the time that AIDS was already at work ending his life.
We arrived at the village which is next to the Kenya-Uganda boarder in the morning. Our journey had taken eight hours by bus. I wanted to know the program of the day so that I could plan my return back to Nairobi. I found out that the deceased was a Catholic who had not been giving his tithe regularly. This led to the local priest refusing to conduct the burial ceremony. This didn’t make sense to me. I felt like the church has lost the moral duty to guide people and trust in mystery. This mystery to me is God. The thought of clergy men and women following the dead into their graves in search of payment for their outstanding debts was unbelievable.