The late Peter Juma
The family of a 35-year-old Kenyan-born man who died in the US after being diagnosed with coronavirus is struggling to have his remains airlifted to Kenya for burial.
Peter Juma, who worked as a bus driver for a company based at a New York airport, succumbed to Covid-19 on Saturday, March 28th.
He is the son of Bishop Elisha Juma and Reverend Mary Juma of Kenya Assemblies of God in Tudor, Mombasa County and moved to the US about four years ago.
Plans to bring their son’s body to Kenya have been complicated by the current ban on all international flights due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The family is also experiencing challenges in communicating with US authorities due to time differences and fears Peter may be buried in the US in their absence or in the presence of very few family members.
“He was with us since December 25 and returned to the States mid-January. We had no idea that was the last time we would see our son alive,” Peter’s mum, Mary said.
Bishop Elisha was hospitalized in Mombasa after receiving the news about his son’s death.
The requirement that bodies of Covid-19 victims are disposed within the shortest time possible is another hurdle for the family.
“What we are sure of, is that we cannot travel due to the ban on international flights. We are trying to exhaust all options to see what will work. We are reaching out to the embassy to see the options they will provide,” Mary added.
Peter died a week after he was taken ill and due to the high rate of infection associated with Covid-19, none of the few relatives with him in the US was allowed to visit him in the hospital. His sister, who is also in the US, did not manage to travel as she lives far from New York.