Some 50 people sat in tense silence underneath a white tent outside a gated house on the southern outskirts of Ethiopia’s capital.
The women were dressed in plain mourning black; the men mostly in white.
But the lull did not last long. A chorus of loud wails soon pierced the air, as the women started rocking back and forth, their hands covering their faces. Nearby, the men stared blankly at the concrete floor.
The group of mourners in the city’s Kaliti neighbourhood were relatives and friends of Elisabeth Minwyelet, one of the eight Ethiopia Airlines crew members killed in a plane crash on Sunday morning.
Flight ET 302, en route to Nairobi from Addis Ababa, came crashing down six minutes after take-off, killing all 157 people on board.
Minwyelet, 29, was meant to return to her husband and son on Sunday night. She had only become a mother less than a year ago.
“She is the love of my life. She is the mother of my 10-month-old son,” Bayih Demessie, Elisabeth’s husband, said, his eyes red from days of non-stop crying.