A family in Mombasa is mourning the death of their 38-year-old US-based son who succumbed to coronavirus on Saturday, March 28.
Bishop Elisha Juma of the Kenya Assemblies of God Church in Mombasa told K24 Digital that on March 20, he received a phone call from his first born son, Peter Juma, who complained of having a strong and persistent cough.
Peter, a resident of New York, told his dad that he would visit the hospital later that day.
Peter, a father of five, is said to have been diagnosed with the highly infectious respiratory disease – coronavirus – and was placed under mandatory quarantine at a New York hospital.
“We did not worry so much because we were hopeful that he would recover. If anything, he assured us that all was going to be well and that God was in control,” said Bishop Juma.
That conversation, which took place a few days ago, was the last one the bishop and his wife, Mary Juma, had with their son.
“From the time we communicated with him, his health deteriorated rapidly. Our subsequent attempts to call him, bore no fruit as we were informed that he couldn’t speak. The doctors said he had high fever and serious breathing complications. As a result, he was moved to the ICU wing. And, last Saturday, March 28, his sister, Joyce Larry Mweti, who is also a resident of the US, called and informed us that Peter had died,” said Bishop Juma.
The Late Peter worked in New York as a paramedic — a person trained to give emergency medical care to people who are seriously ill with the aim of stabilising them before they are taken to hospital.
Peter moved to the USA in 2016, his father said.
The American nation currently has the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the world, which stood at 188,647 as of Wednesday, April 1. The country has recorded 4,059 deaths arising from coronavirus.
With those alarming figures, the US administration told Bishop Juma that they needed to collect their son’s body as quickly as possible failure of which, the Late Peter will be cremated on Thursday, April 2.
“It is our wish to grant our son a decent send-off,” said Bishop Juma.
“We are appealing to the Kenyan Government to help us get our son’s body from the US so that we can view and bury it. The US administration told us due to the fact that morgues in the country were fully occupied, we should collect the body before Thursday, April 2, failure of which, they will discard my son’s body by cremating it,” said Bishop Juma.
“We will be saddened if our son gets cremated. We are ready to raise money and buy a parcel of land in the US, where our son will be buried,” added the bishop.
Peter’s mother, Mary Juma, said by virtue of her son being a renowned Christian minister in the UK, Kenya and the US, many people would love to attend his burial.
Mary said Peter studied Theology at Kairos Global University in the US.
“He was the founder of Power of the Word Church International in Birmingham, UK,” said Mary.
Bishop Juma’s family is now appealing to Kenyans to avert coronavirus-related deaths by observing the stay-at-home advisory issued by the government.
“My son wasn’t old; he was 38. He was very energetic, but sadly, he succumbed to COVID-19. I urge Kenyans to obey the stay-at-home advisory issued by the Ministry of Health. Peter was in the US, a superpower country with one of the best healthcare systems, but that could not help much. In fact, we have been told that health professionals in the US have been overwhelmed [by the new infections]. This should sound a warning to Kenyans because our healthcare system is not as robust as that of the US,” said Mary.
Peter is survived by five children, aged between 4 and 13.