Wednesday, October 7, 2009


WITH sad news, I would like to inform dear readers of my blog that my dear father Mr. Naboth Onyango Paulo has passed away. He died at home in Gamasara village, Tarime district in Mara region in the morning of 3rd September 2009 at around 07:30 am. My father had long been suffering from a number of diseases including kidney complications and heart attack which had shortly developed recently as a result of being bed-ridden for a long time ever since he overturned with his motor-bike he was riding in August 1984, about 25 years. Until his death, he couldn’t be able to move from one place to another because his both legs were paralyzed as though he was suffering from poliomyelitis disease. He has suffered under that condition despite of various efforts made to make him cure.

The inside of the newly built mortuary at Tarime district hospital

You might think he is asleep, he is dead and some villagers volunteered to put on a dress on him before he was inserted into a coffin. This was inside the mortuary.


The results of the medical check up after the accidents showed that, he got a fracture that caused a dislocation of some of the backbones, this was after a minor medical operation which was carried out at a regional hospital in Musoma town. As a result of this, his spinal cord had to be joined with artificial irons to ease his body movements, and later on this was done by medical experts in a successful operation he underwent at Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre, popularly known in short as KCMC hospital. This is the second largest referral hospital in the country which is located at Moshi town and geographically this is in the northern part of the country. These special man-made medial tools had a life span of 50 years on his body if he could continue living, but because of lack of intensive practices as well as physical exercises that the doctors had recommended for him that he should do while at home, his body failed to respond due to frequent illnesses which had exacerbated the problem more severely, and as a result some diseases developed resulting into severe pains that caused general weaknesses on his body. This is the case he always kept complaining about despite of the fact that whenever he was being taken to the hospital for check up, the doctors kept on giving him tablets to swallow so as to relieve pain.

When they had finished putting the body in a coffin, the body was taken out and placed at the back of a Land-Rover and a procession started with three cars moving slowly signaling other motorists who by-passed them. I was seated on the third car, while a land rover carrying the coffin was in the middle as you can see in the photo.


Mr. Naboth Onyango Paulo was born in June 30th 1935 at Ngurime village in rural Musoma and was brought up at Gamasara Village in Tarime district. He started his primary education in 1945 and finished lower primary education in 1949 at Gamasara. He continued with Upper Primary school education up to standard eight (8) in 1953. He joined secondary school education whereby he studied for two years only and ended up in form two level in 1955 at Asumbi Secondary School which is in Kisii district in the Republic of Kenya. He couldn’t be able to continue with the secondary school education up to form four level due to a number of family problems including lack of money and instead he opted for an employment with the Ministry of Health and Social Services of the then colonial Tanganyika government as a Nursing Auxiliary. His first appointment was at Maweni Hospital in Kigoma town. Maweni hospital is currently a regional hospital in Kigoma region, the hospital was established as a medical centre by the colonial government way back in 1950.

When we arrived at home about 6 miles away from the hospital, the coffin was kept inside a house that belongs to my father’s elder wife. The move is as per the Luo’s traditional customs. It’s very sad when people knew that our father’s elder wife had deserted it for the last twenty years.

Inside the house, that evening people clustered weeping and wailing over the coffin, among them was my sister (dressed in a red blouse) who fainted and later helped by neighbours.

Standing fourth from left with a walking stick is Major Peter Oguda, a retired military officer and a senior member of the family, in discussion with other members of our family showing the appropriate spot where the grave was later dug in the morning of 6th September 2009. This was during the funeral day.

People and other family members gathered around to see the progress of the grave as diggers were almost seen in half way their waist.


He pursued a three year nursing course at Saint Theresa Medical college (currently known as Muhimbili National Hospital) in Dar es Salaam from 1957 and 1960, and upon his successful completion of the course, he was returned to work at Maweni Hospital as a trained nurse grade 1. He shortly stayed at Maweni and was transferred to Tarime government hospital, the hospital had few months since its inauguration by the colonial government in early 1961. He worked there up to mid 1969 when he was selected again by the Ministry to undergo a one year another training course, this time for upgrading studies on general nursing at the same college, the training ended in early 1970. On his successful completion, he was selected to go and work for an internship program at Kisarawe district hospital, 22 kilometers west of Dar es Salaam city. On his successful completion of the internship program, he was promoted to the position of a senior staff nurse grade 1.

Part of the mourners who turned up during the funeral day

Women seated round the coffin bearing the body of my father shortly before he was buried.

Among the most famous elders in the village were from left is the retired Major Matiko Murugao, Mzee Anserim a retired prisons officer, Major Peter Oguda, Mzee Wambura Chomete, and Mzee Ghati Soyega, a retired Police Officer who is seated extreme right supporting his chin with a walking stick.


In late 1971 he was transferred to Tarime district hospital and continued to execute his normal duties up to September 1976 when he was officially transferred to Musoma regional hospital where he worked for a couple of two years and returned back again to Tarime in an official transfer, a year later he was promoted to the rank of Assistant Nursing Officer and later senior nursing officer in-charge of the district.

I was standing in front of my mother’s house chatting with my younger sister when suddenly my younger brother whom I gave my camera had emerged and had taken us a photo. On the other side of the compound were some other people seated under the shade of a big mango tree.

Trees are more useful, for they serve other purposes like providing shade, as you can see mourners had to seek a resting place during the funeral.

This is my mother who is clad as though in a festival, coming out of her house.


My father continued to hold this position up to 26th August 1984 when he got an accident with his own motor-bike in the evening while driving in high speed along the main road that runs from Musoma to Tarime. He was coming from Kowak village from where he went to attend a funeral of a child that belonged to his in-laws’ family. As he was driving in high speed along the corrugated road towards Buganjo village, he stamped a hard object as he approached a steep in the middle of the road and lost control and consequently he veered off the road and fell down unconsciously. While he was struggling with much pain he sustained on his back, he was picked up by good Samaritans in another car which was coming behind him, the driver, having known him helped to take him to the hospital quickly. They also took his motorbike which they left at a police station from where they also took a Police Form NO: 3, known as PF3 for medical treatment.

The Anglican church choir team were all the time entertaining the mourners and visitors who came for the burial.

Time for burial arrived, the Anglican Pastor Manasse Marwa was among the four pastors who came along to join a requiem mass, he is seen leading a procession.

The coffin was put on a table and the mass started


The medical check up was carried out on him and it was discovered that, he sustained major injuries on his backbone and two days later, he was taken to Musoma regional hospital for further treatment. The doctors at Musoma hospital carried diagnosis whereby they recommended him for a major operation in one of the referral hospitals in the country. He was later flown to KCMC Hospital in Moshi. He stayed there for a couple of one month receiving treatment after a successful operation which was done by medical experts. But together with the treatment he had received, this couldn’t help and make him regain his strengths as before and instead he remained as a lame person without expectations. He couldn’t move around as all his legs were paralyzed, he looked like someone who suffers from poliomyelitis disease and remained bed-ridden for the rest of his life until his death.

My younger brother, Mr. Richard Onyango who for many years had been staying close to our father in the village explaining a point to the people about my father as I watched standing close to him waiting for my turn.

My mother Mrs Elisia Onyango who felt the pang of horror had been nursing the deceased for the last 25 years, also had time to give out her points and congratulations to the people who were close to my father unlit his death.

The cameraman took her from behind facing the congregation.


Because of the situation that continued to harass his every day’s life, he had lost the ability to work any more and instead, in November 1989 a panelists of medical practitioners of Mara region passed a resolution for his fate. They all unanimously decided to terminate his services for his mutual benefits. Because of this, so his services were terminated according to the law as it applies to anybody who is unable to work due to illness, therefore he deserved all the terminal benefits as required for his age moreover had arrived. My father was officially retired at the age of 54 years. This was not the official retirement age for a civil servant, but it could never be avoided as his situation had suggested, he still had other six years to work in civil service, but he aught to accept with the decision by the panelists owing to the situation he had fallen.

I took a microphone and surged forward giving a brief statement about my father’s life history

The cameraman took this photo from behind facing the congregation.

When I finished my turn, the microphone was handed over to Pastor Marwa who spoke on behalf of others who are seated clad in their religious robes.

This is my mother who can be seen paying her last respects.


Since then, my father had been receiving treatment at home assisted by my mother the only his wife among five he had. Others ran away when they realized he was no longer able to work, so they thought he would soon be humiliated with the rural life. My mother was being assisted by some sympathizing neighbours who knew him well, my father was kind and generous enough to them, apart from a number of assistances such as nursing and medical advice he used to give them, he turned his house a place of treating the sick people of all ages, people used to come for help whereupon he used to apply his experience and the medical skills he had to help them wherever possible. My mother who was also a government employee resolved to terminate her employment service in a move to stay more closer to give a hand of help to my father who always felt the pang of horror and lived in a solitude state having realized that all his wives had run away plus their children. It’s only my mother who dedicated all his problems up to the end.

My father’s younger sister, Jenifer Achien’g paying her last respects.

Mzee Elija (one of the oldest men remaining in the village) and his wife were also among the people who joined a procession of paying their last respects.

My elder brother born from another grand father Mr. William Oreyo paying his last respects. My brother has just retired from teaching.

This is a group of my sisters born by the same father paying their last respects


Because of being a bed-ridden for a long time, my father was attacked by a disease which medical experts termed it a cardiac disease which had affected his heart. It had developed some internal diseases in his body that became incurable. These were discovered later by a group of doctors of one of the famous Shirati mission hospitals in the district when my father was taken few days before he died. The doctors carried a diagnosis and found that he suffered from a blood pressure which later led to his death in the morning of 3rd September 2009. My father has left 5 wives, two of whom are not official and 22 children who are still alive, and other 6 have died. He has also left behind a total of 49 grand children and 9 great grand children. I am the fourth child in a series and the elder son among 8 remaining. The rest are ladies. May the lord God rest his soul in internal peace. AMEN.

People carrying a coffin bearing the body of my father to the grave

When my father’s body had been laid to rest in a grave, my mother was the first to lay a wreath over it and I followed.

I also put a wreath as directed

The village chairman, Mr. Ochola standing in front of my father’s fresh grave giving a speech congratulating the people for their cooperation and assistances they had contributed in one way or another that made the funeral successful.

Mzee Ghati Soyega is a retired police officer, he is now a church elder at a parish where my mother prays. He was given an opportunity to congratulate his fellow church members for close cooperation they had shown during the funeral. While he was addressing a congregation, my mother was seated right in front of the grave he is seen in discussion with my little daughter, this was immediately when the burial services had ended.