crying stones for sleeping angels 

26 March 2019

When parents are unable to pay the hospital bill for their deceased child, the hospital will not release the body and it disappears into the incinerator. As a result parents cannot bury their child and have no place to mourn. In developing countries, the majority of these children do not receive the treatment that could have given them a fair start of their lives. The cause of death is inaccessible or failing healthcare.

That is why the parents in Mwanza asked Pierre Mertens, as an artist, to design a memorial monument for all children with spina bifida and hydrocephalus who died on their way to treatment.

The work was carried out at the end of March and it already commemorates 27 deceased children. Pierre named it "crying stones for sleeping angels".

The monument is located in Mwanza on Lake Victoria in a cemetery in the middle of the mountains. The landscape is characterized by large rocks. They seem to have been piled up like little stones by giants from another era. It is a rough environment where stones suddenly become mountains. Parents are invited to choose a stone for their deceased child and to carve the name of their child in a drop of sealing wax. They bring this stone to the cemetery where "Malaika Wamelala" or "sleeping angels" is written on a rock in Swahili. The memorial stones are stacked onto this rock. In this way these children become part of the landscape and the parents get a place to mourn

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