30 minutes at the mortuary


My daring self never ceases to amuse me.

Last Friday, it got stubborn again, this time however for something a nightmare to many.

I set out to go to the Nairobi city mortuary, with two other colleagues, we decided to stroll the distance and finally we were at a place, not deserted, but for lack of a better word, de-congested.

Speak of a mortuary and you will be surprised the changes on people’s faces; mere frowns and sulks.

I know too well that as you read this, you are already wondering what I was up to.

Walk with me; let’s get into the mortuary. Caution: if you have a weak heart, don’t dare get in, ok?

Now pick your hankie and make sure you cover your nose properly, the stench here is horrible. And don’t even worry about the flies, they have a home here and they will welcome you even before you think of stepping inside the gate.

Right, let’s enter, one step in the gate, you do not want to let the other leg in but courage, let’s go, it is only for the adventurous.

Hey, do not throw up, I also have nausea. I also know you want to spit, for that, feel free because I cannot avoid it either.

Now, look to your right, you see those ladies?  They are also covering their noses and mouths, oh, look at the other one, she is even spitting, so you are not alone.

There you go, look under that tree; see that man in a white medical coat with gloves in his hands and gum boots in his feet? He also has a pad on his nose and mouth.

And at the door to the mortuary, that man, plus look at that woman in the same, she is freely eating, she should be used, looks like she works here.

The stench is also terrible for them.

The place is green although the breeze is contaminated.

The ladies sitting in the compound, and the other people you see around either work here or have come to look for bodies of their beloved ones, who they think could have died and brought here by police.

There is no laughing here. You laugh, you inhale, you smile, and your teeth are being contaminated too.

When that warden opens the door wide, a huge filthy smell comes out, in bulk you can literally feel it, you get nausea.

But wait, let me ask him if we can get in, but if we cannot hold our throats for a minute while we are outside, then what will happen when we get in, we might probably just die.

Courage- let us go

Can we get in please?

“No you cannot unless you have permission from the office to search for a body here,” he says

So those who have permission get in, huge pieces of clothes covering their noses-just imagine what they are about to see.

Freezers habouring dead bodies, both rotten and bolted. There are about 600 bodies here; you have to search until you find yours.

Every freezer is designated to carry 4 corpses, but when the numbers are high like the case is, over 10 can be packed in one.

“But bodies stay for a long time, many times people come to look for their relatives after 3 month, they are no longer bodies but maggots and that is the stench,” says the gentleman in a white coat

What about the drugs administered to preserve them?

“You know these drugs can only work for a short while and they do not stop decay,” he replies

Now, according to this gentle man, there is an average of 10 bodies coming in everyday, however on days like when there are accidents, the numbers go to about 25 and above.

These are people that police picks up on the roads, whose relatives are not known.

Ok, now, I really want to throw up, we need to get out of here, I cannot take it anymore, my air is stinking, my clothes too and I feel filthy, I just want shower.

I have to miss lunch because I cannot imagine eating while I smell the stench back there.

Back home, I take a warm soothing bath, I still smell it. Why did I go there?

“You are so daring,” my inner self reminds me.

Welcome back, was the journey worth?

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Published by

Uwitware

Journalist|Proud Catholic| Writer|Passionate Public Speaker My heart beats for Children.

6 thoughts on “30 minutes at the mortuary”

  1. Ehh! what the Hell were looking for there.. I’ve been there once, it was terrible so when you described it i feel fresh in my mind, thank God i had to read this after my lunch

    1. Bonny, in life, we need a little adventure, like i said the adventurous Trudy led me there.. it was a nasty yet great experience, i couldn’t eat the whole day.

  2. I have never dared to enter one, The best I can do is pass far from it. But reading this made it very vivid, I saw every detail come real, it further makes me imagine what happens in our Mulago Mortuary. I feel for the guys who work there though. They are really courageous.

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