wedding. Before we left I had the amazing privilege of being invited to be a witness for our neighbor’s oldest daughter’s wedding. The bride is the older sister of many of the shule kids and I met her because she came around a few times to check out what was going on at the Mzungu house. Her smile captivated me and we sat and talked every time she came over over banana muffins and juice. I quickly learned she was getting married and as the first daughter in her family that was a big deal. Her mother came by and asked if I would be one of the witnesses for the wedding and we started the preparations. I had no idea then just how much was involved but now looking back I feel so blessed I got to be included. I also offered to take pictures for them for free which was partly selfishly motivated since we attend so many cultural events but can rarely snap pictures lest we stand out even more in our Wazungu-ness and I really wanted to capture the wedding . Taking pictures and being apart of the entire day was amazing. Even as I upload these pictures I feel a longing to be back that I cannot fully describe. My friend said that she feels my “heart bleeds for Africa” and I think somehow over the past few years that has become true. Not sure when but I cannot look at them without smelling, hearing, and feeling there. And I so long to share this place with you all. Sharing these pictures is a small part of sharing our home for now. I edited down considerably because there were just too many and also because I felt some moments were too personal to share here. We started celebrating Thursday night and partied until the power cut late that night (small mercies:) and then I was woken up at 5:15am the next morning for the official ceremony (they chose the time after morning prayer time for the ceremony), and then after the ceremony and seeing the bride and groom off the guests ate together. Then later in the day packed gifts and 17 women in our car and headed to visit the newlyweds later that afternoon. We walked through winding paths of a small village about 30 minutes away and finally found the house and were escorted inside with much yelling and celebrating. We then waited outside the bedroom for the bride and groom to emerge. Everyone was giggling and making jokes. I learned LOTS of new words to be sure with this group of only women. Anyone who thinks Muslim women are super conservative or reserved has never been in a room with just them chatting!! I could not understand everything for sure but actually held my own, even making a few jokes that had everyone laughing and slapping my leg. I was so grateful for that. For being understood, for understanding. I remember not so long ago sitting with local people only understanding 1 out of every 50 words, feeling lost, hopeless at times, being laughed at, crying, and wanting to give up. And look what God has done. I have so much to learn, so much to share, and so much I will never fully understand but communicating and being together feels right. At the times I am invited in I pray that I earn that privilege and honor Him in everything. I have never been so included in every aspect of a wedding and I count this as blessing. I count it as opportunity to learn and share. I count it as precious time that was well spent. We dressed up, we endlessly set up last minute, we danced, we kneaded dough, we sorted rice, we cooked, we ate, we drank sugary tea, we decorated, we gathered people, we talked, we laughed, we heckled the bride and groom, we sat and sat and waited, we prayed, we brought gifts, gathered chickens, loaded the dala dala, cleaned up, we shared. Join us at Salma’s wedding…..
decorating the bed…Anni had to help
Evy made sure they stayed out!
women sorting rice in preparation for lots of cooking
the father of the bride and friends watching everything
Anni & I helped with the mandazi (donuts)
this was not even half of them- the women were frying them for 2 hours!
getting ready to cheza dufu
Evy takes her seat with the women & kids
mother of the bride makes an entrance
cheza dufu and party!
Anni loves weddings!
the morning of the wedding- everyone waiting for us to bring the bride over
the bride signing the marriage certificate with the religious leader and her family and witnesses
Mother of the bride and the bride…see the finished decorated bed!
not everyone was sad & serious like you are supposed to be…
the groom comes in for part of the ceremony with his witnesses and the religious leader (love that he was wearing sunglasses) makes everything official
carrying the bride out
father’s side Bibi (grandmother) who came in and prayed for the couple to have children and gave some advice. I love this picture. well earned wrinkles and a beautiful smile.
possibly one of my favorite moments. Everyone was gathering gifts and loading them onto the dala dala and a few women started chasing some chickens and tied them up and threw them in the car
loading the gifts was a group effort
love this shot of the groom watching the bride and friends get in the dala dala
food after the couple left…beans with coconut, donuts, and tea
lots of clean up
visiting with just the ladies later in the day