Tearful farewell for Kadijah
Tears flowed at the Bog New Testament Church of God in Westmoreland on Saturday as hundreds of mourners turned out to say goodbye to nine-year-old Kadijah Saunders, who was allegedly murdered by a 13-year-old boy from her home district on June 5.
Kadijah, who was a student of the New Works Primary, also in Westmoreland, was hailed as a "very special child", who impacted many lives.
In a tearful interview with WESTERN STAR, after listening to the rich accolades that were showered on his daughter by her school and other institutions such as the Black River High School, Duheny Park Children's Choir, Kadijah's father, Dean Saunders, said that he was still struggling to come to grips with her death.
"It is like the entire family is still living in a dream," said the weeping dad. "It is hard to accept that Kadijah is not here with us."
In a message from the head of the Western Regional Director of the Ministry of Education, Dr Michelle Pinnock, she urged the family to collectively honour Kadijah's memory.
"Kadijah epitomises childhood innocence ... from what I gleaned, it was the simple things in life that made her happy, things such as hugging her teachers and her friends, playing with other children, posing to take pictures, and lighting up your space with her beautiful and warm smile," said the message from Pinnock.
Following the tribute from her school in a song, which was beautifully rendered by a group of students, the general sentiment was that while Kadijah was still very young, she was already making a mark on life with her many endearing qualities, which they believe should be emulated by other students.
There were very few eyes that were not shedding tears as Kadijah's colourful casket, which had her name written on it in bold letters, was taken from the church to begin the journey to her final resting place, the cemetery in Bog.