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HomeWealthAndrew Njoroge: Meet One Of The Longest Serving Mortuary Attendant In Kenya

Andrew Njoroge: Meet One Of The Longest Serving Mortuary Attendant In Kenya

Mention the word ‘mortuary’ to anyone and they immediately get scared, terrified or bring back trauma of the loss of a loved one. But what if I tell you that there is a man who spent 14,600 days in a busy mortuary and is simply doing fine after retiring?

In this article WoK brings you the story of Andrew Njoroge – one of the longest serving mortuary in Kenya.

Andrew Njoroge Journey

Andrew Njoroge was born and raised in Kihumbuini village, Murang’a County. He dropped out of secondary school while in Form Two due to lack of school fees. He would then start working at a local garage in Murang’a town as a mechanic. During an exclusive interview with Healthy Nation, Njoroge revealed that the job was one of the most exhausting he had ever done and it didn’t take him long before he threw in the towel.

“I would leave the house a very clean man but in the evening I would return very dirty because of the work at the garage, this I did not like at all and so I quit,” he told Healthy Nation.

Breakthrough

After quitting his mechanic job, he landed a job as a casual worker at M.P. Shah Hospital. He worked in the position for one year until July 11th 1981 when he was officially employed and issued a payroll number. He would then work in different departments such as the kitchen, in the X-ray rooms and wards. It was at the wards that he got an opportunity to interact with the mortuary attendants. When a patient passed away in the wards, Andrew would help the mortuary attendants transfer the body to the mortuary wing. He would then get familiar with the mortuary environment and started developing an interest for the job.

Also Read: Benjamin Kibiku: Meet The Founder Of Montezuma Monalisa Funeral Home

Joining the Mortuary

A job opening arose in the morgue following the retirement of one of the attendants and Andrew decided to give it a shot and apply for the position. He was taken through a small training and later handed the position. A mortuary attendant admits bodies from other hospital floors after death has been pronounced by a physician and confirms the body’s identity by comparing the hospital wristband to the hospital chart. While speaking in the exclusive interview, Andrew explained the process of admitting a body.

When a body is brought in, it goes through the embalming process. Embalming a body is meant to slow down the decaying process. When a body is brought in, we drain its fluids. This is done by introducing specialists embalming solutions into the body after someone has passed away, helping to give them a peaceful appearance,” he explained.

Challenges and the most difficult period.

During the interview he revealed that his job has not been easy and has been a part of numerous emotional moments shedding more tears than he can remember. 

“Here you have to put yourself in the shoes of those grieving. When they come to check or pick the body I have to be there for them. I will cry with them, pray with them and even view the body with them. I am with them through this journey. Once they are ready to view the body, I give them enough time with their loved ones,” he explained.

In the four decades he worked at the morgue, the most difficult time was during the Westgate attack that left 67 people dead. He had to handle bodies with gun wounds and work for seven days concurrently and this, he says, had a toil on his mental wellbeing.

If there was a time I had a mental breakdown in my career, it was during the Westgate attack. Just seeing lifeless bodies lying there because the morgue was full and bodies were still being brought. It was that bad,” he told the publication.

Mzee Andrew is now retired at his rural home in Murang’a County after a successful 40 years stint at the mortuary. Although sad that none of his many children are taking care of him, he is still happy for them that they are creating their paths.