On Wednesday September 2, we all here at the Kailakuri Health Care Project have bid farewell to our friend and our brother, Dr Edric Baker. He passed away suddenly around 1:45 pm on Tuesday. He was surrounded by people he loved and who loved him. Over the last few days he had been having a rough time with breathing but none of us here expected his passing so soon.
Late last year he was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary hypertension, an incurable illness. Right up until the last hour he was giving orders and making phone calls. That was just like Dr Bai (Dr. Brother). The word “retire” was not in his vocabulary. Within half an hour of his passing his room became full of caring people who he had helped over the years. As we started to make calls around, not only Bangladesh but the world, the news spread and more and more people filled our compound and phoned promising to be on the next bus to come and pay their respects.
It is hard to explain how loved and respected he was. Since the moment he passed he was never once left alone. Local Mandi woman sang songs, people read from the Koran, others wept, and other stood silently keeping a vigil. Up until his burial yesterday he was still surrounded by those he loved and who loved him.
People came from all over Bangladesh some arriving in the night and most refused beds offered to them for rest and preferred to tell stories of their time with Edric late into the night. Even in death he managed to bring different communities and cultures together. Christian, Muslim, Hindu, rich, poor, Bangladeshi and Badashees (foreigner) all worked side by side to fulfill his final wishes.
By the evening he was laid out on a table in our waiting room. Hundreds of people came to give their goodbyes and show their appreciation. By the morning many visitors and staff had not slept but no one minded and work began early.
By ten o’clock the whole compound was full of people. He was laid in his coffin and carried to the church (which doubles as a school) beside our Hospital. As the service was progressing hundreds waited outside and then followed his casket back to his house. He had made it clear to the staff he wanted to be buried out the back of his house underneath his veranda.
As he was being laid to rest, two lines of people formed surrounding his house and extending all the way out to the road. Slowly everybody gave their final farewells and each person sprinkled earth over his grave.
At the end of the day the staff was happy that they were able to fulfill two out of three of his final wishes. His first wish was to take his last breath at Kailakuri. His second wish was that he be buried here at the Kailakuri Health Care Centre.
His third wish was that the hospital continues to stay open and operational long into the future. His last wish will never be completed without the help of you.
The Kailakuri family is grateful for all your prayers and ongoing support. We feel you are part of our team and we will continue to send you news.
May Dr Edric Baker rest in peace and rise in glory.
From all of us here at Kailakuri.
The NZCMS family praises God for the life of faithfulness that Edric lived. A memorial service is to be held in Whakatane sometime this month.
More than ever, the Kailakuri project is in need of a medical doctor and nurse, particularly for some time in 2016. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested.