The funeral service of the seven youth who died at Hell’s Gate in Naivasha was held on Friday in Dagoretti, Nairobi.
Six of them were later buried at Thogoto Cemetery in Kikuyu. The seventh one, Agnes Mutuku, will be buried today at her rural home in Kitui.
Many out of the over 2,000 people who attended the service at the PCEA Mukarara church described the seven as having “gone too soon”.
Those buried on Friday were Ruth Wanjiru (16), Moses Kimani (27), Matthew Muigai (25), Josphat Macharia (16), David Mwaniki (24) and Geoffrey Ngigi (20). (READ: Park tragedy as 7 killed in freak floods)
The burial ceremony was led by PCEA moderator David Ritho Gathanju and church minister Mukarara Nancy Cuare. Embakasi MP Ferdinand Waititu and Kikuyu MP Lewis Nguyai were among the people who attended.
“Death has taken away the future of this nation and that of the church. But we cannot blame anyone for the death because it was caused by nature,” said the Rev Gathanju.
Assemblies of Christian Churches general secretary Maina wa Gaithuru asked for better disaster preparedness and management to avoid loss of lives.
A tribute by Duncan Muthiora, who had accompanied the youth to the park, drove many to tears.
“I saw you go and could not help but just cry for your lives. You have gone from our midst like the wind, left us with memories, fare thee well,” it read.
A few survivors of the tragedy eulogised through a Kiswahili song Vumilia roho yangu.
Keziah Muthoni missed a seat on the bus that was bound for Hell’s Gate National Park for the youth retreat five days ago.
She was the 52nd person on the list but the bus could carry only 51 passengers.
At the funeral service on Friday, Muthoni said: “We have lost five ushers, a Sunday school member and a visitor from Kitui who loved serving in the church.”
The youth had to undergo counselling so that she could come to terms with the death of her friends.
Jedidah Wangeci was part of the group at the youth retreat. Her sister Ruth Wanjiru was among those who died during the flash floods at the park.
Ms Naomi Wakarima recalled how her two daughters cleaned the house before leaving for the trip on the fateful Sunday morning.
Very warm girl
“I thank God that one of our daughters came back alive and we trust God for the best as we mourn the death of Ruth,” said Ms Wakarima.
She described Ruth as a very warm girl who was very close to her.
Sarah Njoki was still in shock over the death of her cousin Geoffrey Ngigi, which she learnt about when she returned from holiday tuition at Loreto Kiambu School.