This week Jason proposed to another woman. Now it is legal to have 4 wives here and on multiple occasions it has been suggested that Jason take another. His response “I can only handle the one I’ve got.” True, J. True. Plus, all that stuff about becoming one flesh….:) So, no the wife was not for him.
But back to the story of the proposal. One of Jason’s good friends here told us on pasaka that he was going to get married soon. We were excited and said our congrats and then asked “to who?” since we had never met any “girlfriend” nor had he ever even talked about one in all the times Jason and him spend together. He answered that he did not have a girl in mind. Bado (not yet). Trying to wrap our American 21 century cultural brain around that one was tough but just a few weeks later he came over and asked Jason if he would be his best man of sorts. He found a potential bride. Jason was very honored and agreed although he would need lots of help in carrying out his duties since he did not have a clue as to what they are. The first duty was this week when his friend’s 2 uncles and Jason had to go meet the women’s family to ask their permission. I guess they have to go and visit 3 separate times; the first is to ask if they can further investigate marriage (then the women’s family can start asking around about the character of the man), then they return to get the answer on whether the family has agreed and negotiate a bride price, and finally they visit to provide the bride price and set a date. Jason and the uncles spent all day in the village, waiting, eating, talking to everyone, and working out the details of the proposal. They were shown amazing hospitality and Jason was grateful he was “let in” on such a family affair.
The woman’s family agreed right away since they knew the family Jason’s friend comes from (another relative is already married to a friend) so they got to skip one step. On the way back Jason and the uncles conspired to play a joke on his friend. We usually avoid “jokes” like unsafi water since often things we think are funny are totally misunderstood here (we could tell stories) but Jason knows his friend well and after asking the uncles they too could not resist. Once they arrived back to share the news with his friend Jason told him “pole, rafiki” and pretended the family had refused the proposal. Mean, right? But no worries as J’s smile soon gave it away (along with the chuckling locals around him) and everyone had a great laugh about it. So in the coming months Jason will continue his duties and get to learn more about the marriage process here. Should be an adventure….