Sunday, January 24, 2010

“The” Wedding

A grocery store owner in town was married on Saturday, and we went with all the other Mundu’s (foreigners) to the wedding.

We drove into the bush to an Anglican church. On the 20 minute drive there, we were cheered along the way by people waving tree branches; cars covered in ribbons met us going back and forth on the incredibly uneven road; and motorcycles were everywhere on the road with branches sticking out all over.

Upon arrival at the church, all the white people (just our group) were led to the front of the church and seated on the platform behind the priests!

The "band" and “choir” made up of youth and children, were the only ones in the church at the time, except for the “band.” Singing and dancing had begun and continued for another hour. Quite entertaining.

The wedding invite said it was starting at 10am, so we left our house at 10am and arrived around 10:30. At 11, people started coming in, and the groom and best man came in shortly after dressed sharply in matching double-breasted suits (it is summer in an un-air-conditioned church – just wanted to remind you).

More singing and dancing. More singing and dancing.

The song leader yelled out at one point, “I can almost smell the bride’s arrival.”

Around 11:45, she arrived and started her S.L.O.W walk down the aisle. It was an inch-a-step with a jig in between.

The ceremony included all of what is in the States plus a church service, complete with an unbiblical sermon about wives (supposedly, bad wives are ugly). There was communion of wafers dipped in wine provided by the groom, but the Mundu’s were not asked to partake.

After communion, the bride and groom signed their marriage contract in front of everyone, along with six other people signing as well.

Then, while the singing commenced, pictures were taken. ALL the pictures. The white people were asked to be in a picture with the couple after the parents’ picture. My side of the platform (me and two guys) declined. The other side included the rest of my family, three journeygirls, and three of the Wafler family. I think a few tried to get up, but it never progressed further. Thank goodness.

After pictures, the recessional started. I timed it because I had seen how slow they came in, and I was curious about the exit. It took NINE minutes for the couple, the attendants, and the priests to make it down the aisle at that inch-a-step pace.

We’re not done yet.

Next, some men came in and un-decorated the church, while we sat on the platform. Did I mention there was no air-condition? And did I mention that we did not leave the church until 2:30pm (we had arrived at 10:30am)? My three children all passed out during the service. I’m pretty sure it was from heat exhaustion. I watched Kylie’s eyes roll back in her head from across the platform. Thankfully, 2 of the journeygirls held my two girls, and Doug held Caleb.

After the flowers were removed, the red material down the aisle taken up, and all the “special people” chairs had their white material taken off, the BACK of the church was allowed to leave. But slowly and surely, we did finally make our way outside.

As you can imagine, even with the pleading of some of the people, my family and the Wafler’s declined the invitation to the reception.

However, Evan, Alissa, Kelli, and Sandra went. They did not get home until 6:30pm. Alissa gave me regular reports by texting my cell. She said the enya (type of food they eat) pots that were brought out were so large, it took 5 men to carry each one. Also, the white people were honored for making the wedding an “international event.”

It really was a neat experience, and it was actually a perfect set up for Sunday. It’s all about perspective.

Karis said, after church today, “That was short.” Yes, 2 ½ hours does seem incredibly short after a heated, marathon wedding event.

Congratulations Lamech and Jenipher!

1 comment:

Stefanie Kellum said...

Makes you miss Baptist weddings, huh? Thanks for the cultural lesson! :)