Monday, September 12, 2016


One day Touryalai invited me to a funeral.
"Who died?", I asked.
"I don't know," Touryalai replied.
"Then how can we go to the funeral?", I asked.
"It's no problem. Come with me", he said.
And so he and I walked onto an open dirt field of gravesites. 
(Not far from this graveyard there was a private area used only by men when they had to go to the bathroom.)
 I again told Touryalai about how gross it was that men just "pooped and peed" in the open.
 He agreed, and again told me that he wished this custom didn't exist, but it did. 
I could tell that he was tired of my complaints.
 I never mentioned the subject again.

"Look. There is the body." said Touryalai.
People were gathered around the body under a small roofed area. 
On a narrow wooden litter was the corpse of a male covered with a white sheet. 
When some men picked up the stretcher, Touryalai and I followed. 
They carefully stepped over a very short fence-like barrier, walked maybe 100 paces, and then stopped.
 They picked up the corpse and gently laid it inside of a shallow swath of the ground, just large enough to hold one body.
 Some large flat stones were placed on the corpse, and then a thin layer of soil was used to cover the stones.
I turned to Touryalai.
"That's it?"
He smiled and said, "Yes, that's it."
"What about dogs or other animals?” I asked.
Touryalai indicated that the body would be just fine.
How simple.
 How unceremonious. 
How frugal. 
And then, there was the American way of death.


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