For Ngure, working at the cemetery’s no grave matter
For Charles Ngure, working as a grave attendant has been his livelihood for 22 years.
He has been working with the Commonwealth in taking care of all the four war cemeteries in Nairobi.
Since 1992, maintaining the Nairobi War Graves on Ngong Road, Nairobi south cemetery on Bunyala Road, Forest Road cemetery in Pangani and Kariokor cemetery, has been his daily routine.
“When I began this, my friends thought I had nothing else to do. Working on graves made them very uncomfortable with me but they have become used to it,” he said.
“I have trained 12 other people for this job,” he said.
Ngure trained in horticulture and says he derives satisfaction maintaining the flowers and grass in the cemeteries.
“Some think being a grave attendant requires a lot of courage. I just take it as any other job. The fact that graves hold bodies does not bother me at all,” he said.
His work entails keeping the grass short and maintaining the look of the cemeteries as mandated by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
Occasionally Ngure receives visitors from abroad who visit graves of their relatives.
“Some want the remains transferred to their country but that is not easy. Others only want to put wreaths on the graves. We allow them to do that,” he said.
Ngure says he has educated all his children from what he does.