Some families in the Ethiopian Airlines crash may bury logs

A United Nations worker mourns her colleagues during a commemoration ceremony for the victims at the scene of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash on 15, 2019. [Photo, Reuters]

Members of the Luo community who lost their relatives in the Ethiopian Airlines crash may bury the logs if it they cannot get bodies of their loved ones.

Local culture dictates that if a member of the community dies, they must be buried in the homesteads from which they hailed.

But in circumstances where the body cannot be found, a log has to be buried instead.

A chairman of the Luo Council of Elders Nyandiko Ongadi said the community prefers burying a log of a tree locally referred to as orindi. The tree grows along the shore of Lake Victoria and swampy areas.

Orindi is preferred because it resembles the body of a human being due to its soft and light nature.  It is cut into a either a 2 or 3 feet before it is placed in the grave.

However, Ongadi said if orindi is not readily available, a log of another tree can be used.

The log can either be prepared on the burial day or a day before the burial before the grave is dug. A ceremony is held during the burial to indicate love for person who died.

“Other cultural practices like slaughtering of animals are done when the log is being buried. The assumption is that people are burying the person who died,” Ongadi said.

The reason for the burying a log is to create memory of the deceased person’s existence in the family.

“The grave in which the log is serves the purpose for remembrance of the person who died,” he added.

But the senior citizen said failure to bury a log when the body is missing may cause bad omen in the family.

“The deceased person may haunt the family members if they failed to bury him or her. This will culminate in bad omen,” he added.

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Luo communityEthiopian AirlinesLocal cultureNyandiko OngadiBurial