Press "Enter" to skip to content

Protective masks soak up tears

MMen in white protective suits heave a coffin from the wagon and carry it to the freshly dug grave. Few relatives watch as it is quickly sunk into the reddish earth. The men bring wreaths. The security protocols do not allow an eulogy or a silent pause to say goodbye. The procedure takes ten minutes, then the relatives have to leave. The protective masks soaked up their tears, but not their pain. Sadness, horror and resignation speak in their eyes.

Tjerk Brühwiller

The scene repeats every ten minutes in block 68 of the Vila Formosa cemetery in São Paulo, the largest cemetery in Latin America. One grave after the other is shoveled until the row is full. Then the next. New coffins arrive on small transport vehicles, almost in column traffic. At a safe distance from each other, groups of relatives wait until the men in protective suits have done their work and it is their turn.

“It’s horrific,” says Eugenia. She is one of the freelance gardeners who tend graves. “It doesn’t stop.” Eugenia has been working in the cemetery for five years and has seen countless funerals during that time. But with the pandemic, the ceremonies have become surreal. And never before had there been so many. “They come from all over the city. There is still space here. “

Almost 300,000 pandemic deaths

The Vila Formosa cemetery, which extends over an area of ​​almost 80 hectares, is one of 22 public cemeteries and at the same time one of the largest green spaces in the metropolis of São Paulo. In the roughly 70 years of its existence, more than 1.5 million corpses have been buried here – people who cannot afford an expensive burial in one of the private cemeteries. Many graves are overgrown because nobody cares anymore.

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *