While many would agree that there is nothing pretty about death, Tina Akelo begs to differ.
The beautician from Malindi, Kilifi county, has skills to work on both the living and the dead.
Speaking with KTN Leo, Akelo said a week does not go by before she is called to duty.
But Akelo's mission is not solely to make one look appealing on their final journey.
There are moments when her skills are required especially if the person was involved in a motor accident.
Asked whether accident victims' faces are offputting, Akelo says it is a job she is passionate about and will not stop soon.
Akelo also has a hair salon dubbed Gifted Hands, where she regularly receives customers. Some were asked whether they are aware that she works on dead bodies sometimes.
Others were not too open to being served by a person who also works on the dead, but one client said even the living will soon be dead, it's only a matter of when.
"If she's talented, why not do it?" she remarks.
A second customer said the dead are part of the living until they are buried.
She shared an experience whereby she had to work on her aunt's hair shortly after she died.
But how did it start?
In December 2010, Akelo worked on a bridal team, but in December 2016 the bride passed away. The woman's family reached out to Akelo to make the woman as beautiful at her funeral as she did during her wedding.
It was the first time she got inside a morgue for the sole purpose of beautifying a dead body.
The single mother of two admits that her line of work requires courage.
"I cleaned my friend, made her look pretty and then dressed her up."
The process involves going to the mortuary earlier to identify the body and plan.
She then meets the family and notifies them on what will be needed, such as powder and foundation, and other makeup products Akelo may require.
The family buys the products.
Akelo says she mostly works on Fridays since that's when the majority of families take out the bodies ahead of burials set for the next day.
Her day starts as early as 6am.
Is there a need to make a corpse look beautiful?
Akelo admits that the practice is not too widespread at the moment, but commonplace at the Coast.
She charges between Sh20,000-Sh25,000 for each female body. She does not work on male bodies.
Some of the challenges in her line of work arise when she starts working on a corpse and accident victims are suddenly brought in.
"Sometimes you have to jump over some bodies to continue with what you are doing.
"Other times, morticians could be working on other bodies. You have to focus on what you are doing and get it done."
Her weekends are packed. If she's not working on corpses, she's busy with a bridal team.
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