A 76-year-old man in Mbale district has purchased a coffin in which he wants to be buried when he dies.
By Paul Watala
A 76-year-old man in Mbale district has purchased a coffin in which he wants to be buried when he dies. Besides, he has also cultivated a cassava garden from which people will eat when they attend his funeral.
Ageing Bazillion Mubene says he took the decision to buy a coffin after he dreamt one night that people who are laid to rest in coffins do not suffer underground like those not buried in coffins.
Mubene, a resident of Nkoma central zone, Namanyonyi sub-county in the eastern district of Uganda, bought the coffin at sh200,000. His children, he explains, abandoned him 17 years ago and have never visited him nor helped him even when he falls sick.
“If your children cannot support you when you are still alive, what about when you die? Can your body be respected and buried decently?” Mubene wonders.
“When I turned 70, I started thinking of how far I have come and how I could ensure I get a decent burial like somebody who has children. They [his children] have become irresponsible and so I decided to sell my trees and purchase a coffin for myself,” he said.
Mubene was born in 1936 in a family of six children, two of them girls and four boys, but all his siblings passed away. He says his parents died when he was four years old and he was brought up by his grandmother who passed away when he was 23 years old.
“I started working in Mbale municipal council as a cleaner then I got married and had six children, two of them girls. Five of them are in Kampala and one boy is a newspaper vendor in Mbale,” he narrates.
His children ganged up with their mother and abandoned him in 1995, adding that since then, life has been hard. He says he could not afford food and medical treatment and therefore struggled to look for casual employment like slashing.
However sickness coupled with old age restrained him from being able to work.
“This is where I have been getting little money to survive on and also saved some that I used to purchase the coffin and cultivate cassava that the mourners will eat when they come to bury me,” Mubene said.
Eyes on coffin
Since he purchased the coffin, several youth have attempted to break into his house at night to steal it, prompting him to report the matter to Namanyonyi Police post.
“I did not steal the money I used to purchase the coffin and it is not a crime for somebody to prepare his own grave. I am now planning to start saving some money for purchasing cement and bricks so that people who will come to bury me are not bothered with getting materials for preparing my grave,” Mubene narrates.
“I am not thinking of committing suicide but when God calls me, I cannot resist. Some residents think I am running mad,” he laments.
He appeals to the government or any non-governmental organisation (NGO) to help construct him a house, avail him food, bedding and medical treatment.
He also appeals to parents never to wish their children bad luck simply because they [their children] have neglected them, and advises that people should start planning for their own decent burials as soon as they reach 50 years of age.
Mbale elder prepares for his burial