Kenyan who died of Covid-19 in US buried

Low-key emotional sendoff for Peter Juma in New York.

In Summary

• The church in New York, pastors, helped raise the cash needed for burial.

• Juma was buried on Long Island in a ceremony attended by a few relatives and Church of Dominion members.

Peter Juma, the Kenyan who died of the coronavirus in the United States, has been laid to rest.

The 38-year-old medical assistant at New York’s St Catherine of Siena hospital, died last weekend after spending a week in hospital.

He is survived by his wife Phoebe Shikuku and five children.

His parents, Bishop Elisha Juma of the Kenya Assemblies of God in Tudor, Mombasa, and Mary Juma, had soon after his death pleaded for financial help to stop his cremation.

The family intends to go to New York to pay their last respects when the ban on international flights is lifted. 

Juma was buried on the city’s Long Island in a ceremony attended by a few relatives and Church of Dominion members who had managed to raise the cash needed for burial expenses. 

"We found a place and had him buried. His sister Joyce and the rest were coordinating the whole event,” the father said.

Back in Kenya, family, relatives and friends held a night vigil at Bishop Elisha's Nyali home as the sendoff ceremony went on. They eulogised Peter as a loving father and one who always stood with people in need.

“Our son had always been obedient. After completing his education at Taita High School, he did a course in IT then took a degree in theology. He was one of the assistant pastors in Church of Dominion, New York,” Bishop Elisha said.

Mary said her son loved music and participated in church crusades in Mombasa and beyond.

“When he left Kenya after the December holidays, he said he would be back since he had the vision to develop his ministry at the Nyali Power of the Word church. His father even told him he would be his heir and would pass the baton to him to continue preaching the word of God since he had compassion,” she said.

Phoebe tearfully remembered her husband as a jovial person. “He has left a big gap and I have no idea where I shall start. We know things are tight, but my plea is that he is preserved in a place I could one day take his children and show them their father’s final resting place,” she said.