The father of a drowned student performed a Luo ritual yesterday – sitting on coiled cloth lubricated with a potion and calling out to his son – and 30 minutes later the body of Derrick Ouka floated to the surface.
“Today we have realised that rituals can sometimes work. As a saved man and a staunch Christian, I was shocked to see the body of my son floating 100 meters away after 30 minutes,” the man told reporters who gathered at the River Yala. He sought anonymity.
Derrick and his female companion Shallete Atieno drowned on Saturday evening when they were standing on a stone and taking selfies.
Shallete slipped and fell into the river. Derrick tried to save her.
The four-day-long search has been agonising as family and friends wait for divers to retrieve the bodies.
The ‘successful’ ritual prompted Shallete’s father to try the same ritual but by press time yesterday, her body had not been recovered in Bondo in Siaya county.
Both the deceased were students. Derrick was a third-year student at Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology. She was a student at Bondo Technical Training Institute.
Family and friends camped on the bank day and night, as Luo culture dictates.
Luo elders warned Ouka’s family not to begin burial preparations until the other body is retrieved. They asked Derick’s family to keep Shallete’s family company at the riverside until the body is recovered.
Six divers from Bomet have joined Siaya divers in the search.