Family members and friends said a final goodbye on Tuesday to a 10-year-old Winnipeg girl who died following what was supposed to be a minor surgical procedure last week.
Ashuza Halisi died just over a day after she underwent surgery at the Maples Surgical Centre for an umbilical hernia. Her parents have since been seeking answers from health officials about how she died.
Hundreds of people, including family members, friends and those who went to school and karate class with Ashuza, gathered at the Calvary Temple for her funeral Tuesday afternoon. She was later buried at a local cemetery.
"She was great. She was giving, she was caring," said her uncle, Coco Halisi, who shared the special Swahili nickname his own children had for her.
"She was the oldest, the only girl. So my kids usually called her Dada — that means 'big sister' — and that's how I always called her," he said.
According to her family, doctors said the surgical procedure Ashuza had on March 11 was simple and she could go home shortly afterwards.
But after returning home that evening, she began experiencing extreme and persistent pain. She died in hospital early in the morning of March 13.
The provincial chief medical examiner's office told Ashuza's family that she had a pelvic infection and perforated bowel.
Officials with the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority said the clinic, which is used for same-day surgeries, had no prior critical incidents on its record.
The chief medical examiner's office continues to investigate Ashuza's death.
Coco Halisi said Ashuza's parents are relying on their strong Christian faith to help them through this difficult time, but they still to know how their daughter died after what was supposed to be a simple procedure.
"We really need to know what really happened," he said.
A group of students and staff at École Noël-Ritchot, where Ashuza was a Grade 5 student, attended the funeral on Tuesday. Her classmates have also written cards of condolence that they have given to her family.
Principal Bruce Waldie said grief counsellors are helping everyone at school cope with what happened.
"To help the students with the shock and to help the staff as well, because this is not just a shock for the kids," he said.
"We have people who've known Ashuza for most of her lifetime."