Thursday, September 23, 2010

Can I get an award?

I got a call from my friend Scoviah on a Thursday saying she wanted to meet me Friday to give me a wedding invitation for a wedding on that Saturday. She had been forgetting to call me.

We tried to plan for a "hand over" on Friday, but she said she was one of the "workers" of the wedding and she would be at the "saloon" all day Friday. I smiled. I wonder if they all call a hair salon a "saloon."

She was frustrated that I couldn't "pick" it, but asked hesitantly if my family would come to the wedding without an invitation in hand.

Sure, why not? Of course, I knew my kids weren't really up for a 7-hour wedding, so I let her know they probably wouldn't make it.

A 10:00am wedding on a rainy day. Should I go? Should I stay in my warm, dry home? Well, as you can imagine, I wasn't "feeling it," but I decided to go anyway.

Because of the mold growing on the walls in Doug's and my bedroom, Doug and I have both been sick for about three weeks. This day was no different. In the privacy of my home, I could walk around with Kleenex stuck up my nose, but somehow I didn't think it would be
appropriate for a wedding "look." So I went prepared.

Lots of Kleenexes.

But this time, I also went prepared in other ways that I had somehow forgone last time.

I'm a quick learner.

First; no heels. This was going to be a flip-flop wedding for me. Don't cringe, all you people in America – this is Africa.

I took water, snack foods, lipstick, pen, paper, wet wipes (I needed something to wipe the mud off my flip flop feet), toilet paper, my Bible, money, a gift, a Tide stick, my cell, camera, and hand

If you remember my last wedding, this was MUCH improvement.

I felt like a boy scout. I was so prepared. And my bag was so full, but it felt good to have all my comforts close to me.

I called a piki driver I use regularly to take me to the wedding, and I arrived fashionably late at 10:20. I was so glad I did. The bride decided she didn't need to arrive until 11:00.

As I was walking in at 10:20, the master of ceremonies was saying, "The bride and groom told me that if 7 people were in the church, we should start. And since we are five times that, let's start."

We were only about 20, but oh well. The rain delayed more people than just me.

Every bride and groom hires an MC for their wedding to entertain the crowd, provide humor, and help the couple relax at the wedding and the reception. For example, when the bride later walked in to the song "Showers of blessing," he said something corny like, "We had the
blessing of rain, and now we have the blessing of Jackline."

The female pastor walked in shortly after me, all the way up to the front, so I wasn't feeling too bad about being late.

After the master of ceremonies said we were starting, the squealing, hollering, and excitement sounds started. 10 of the 20 people in the audience at this point were all mundus. The groom works at the Anglican radio station with a lot of Germans, and they all came.

The "noise" did not come from any of us. There seemed to be a designated "screamer." I don't know if these people are paid or not. She was not dressed like she was going to a wedding. She entered the side door with about 15 neighborhood kids who just stood and stared while she hollered and waved a tree branch around.

The number of still cameras (4) and video cameras (2) was considerably less than the last wedding. And I think I only had my picture taken twice in the audience, and I was even further up front.

At 10:50, the MC gets a tambourine to play along with the band, and in walks the groom and his friends, swaying slowly in unison. By this time the church was pretty full.

At 11:00, the bride and her bridesmaids come in led by the flower girls, ring bearer, and cow/goat tail-wavers (I have no idea what this means, but I'll try to find out).

I finally saw Scoviah. She was the matron of honor.

At 11:25, the priest asked the groom to lift the bride's veil and make sure it was actually the girl he wanted to marry, and then he said a blessing over them.

I guess the blessing wasn't too important because all the cameras turned to take pictures of the audience at this point.

On page 9 of 16 in the program, the power went out.

No lights on a cloudy day.

No music except for drums, and we were in the middle of a song.

No one skipped a beat. We kept singing.

The scriptures were yelled from the front.

After 10 minutes or so, the generator was fired up outside, and the microphones eventually started working again.

I got tickled at 2 white boys who showed up at noon (2 hours late). They are new to town, but being late didn't bother them at all. They came down front to my row. I guess the ushers thought they had to seat all the mundus together.

One part that is new to weddings for me is the priest focusing on taking only one wife. Polygomy is a real problem here, so the church tries to teach against it as much as possible.

At 1:10, we finally started singing the recessional. Eight minutes later, I joined the slow recessional, and I saw my friend, Beatrice. She quickly handed me the invitation that Scoviah had given her. I guess it's a really big deal for them to have an invitation in hand.

She led me through a field behind the church as a "short cut" to the reception. It's a good thing I had the wet wipes for my feet. Beatrice and I both had to use them when we finally arrived.

At 1:45, I was seated in the "invited guests" section, right behind the reserved area for the radio station employees. When my German friends showed up, they motioned me to come forward to visit, and they told the owner of the station that I would be sitting with them.

Front row seat.

The decorating started.

The bride's friends and family from her village showed up for the reception in the back of a large truck. I didn't see them at the wedding.

At 2:45, the bride and groom arrived.

There were prayers and introductions (even the "saloonist" was introduced) and Beatrice participated in a skit about marriage for everyone.

Tried to enter a great video here, but maybe I'll get it loaded when I get to Kampala this weekend.

We ate at 3:30.

The bite-size cake pieces were passed around at 4:15, while the bride and groom went to change their outfits for the cake-giving

and their gift - getting. Yes, this chicken was brought to the front for the bride and groom.

The gift-giving started at 4:45, and as much fun as I was having watching everyone dance and having fun, my nose was STILL running.

I was pretty miserable.

I hugged Scoviah's neck, told my German friends goodbye, and told Beatrice I was catching a piki home.

I returned to my mold-infested home, put on pajamas, took an anti-histamine, and started cooking dinner.

I don't know why I always feel like I deserve an award after I return home from a wedding marathon.

Chocolate anyone?

1 comment:

Cara said...

You totally deserve an award. You rock. :D