Monday, December 14, 2009

An African Wedding

Monday, December 14, 2009

Yesterday was a busy day. After breakfast we all headed out to the van for our bumpy ride to the gathering. Kids were yelling, “how are you?” and waving as they ran down the road after us. People are everywhere going to one of the many churches in the neighbor. As I look out the window I wonder why we can’t all just get along and be one family of God, His people and His Kingdom. One day may it be so.
After the gathering we had a ladies meeting. I spoke to them about women in the Bible from different phases in their lives – single, married and widowed. The language and culture makes it hard to know if what you are saying is either helpful, too complicated or too simple to understand. They are so expressive when they are singing, praying and praising but when they listen it is hard to read their faces. They are good listeners but give little indication or response to what is being said. Nelly assured me that the interpreter makes sure they understand. So all in all, you just give what you have and let God speak to their hearts the message He wants them to hear. I love being with these ladies. When the meeting was over their faces came back to life with expressions of love and kindness.  I think they are trained to listen when it’s time to listen and talk later. Hum… not a bad idea.
It’s fun getting to know their culture and learning to understand the difference in perspectives. After the ladies meeting we took pictures to put on the F.I.S.H. applications then had a clan leaders meeting. It was about 12:30pm when all this was over so George took us back to the house to get something to eat before we went to a wedding. We had samosas and rice. I love samosas. They are triangular shaped stuffed with minced meat (ground beef) and / or vegetables deep fried. They remind me of eggrolls. George said we shouldn’t go to the wedding hungry. Later we found out why.

This was a wedding for one of Petranillas friends. She brought her over to meet us a couple of weeks ago. I had a conversation with her and we connected right away. So I was interested in going to an African wedding and glad that it was hers.  We got there a little late so I expected we would just sit in the back and be inconspicuous. Wrong… we stuck out like a mzungo at an African wedding. They escorted us to the front row where people moved around to make room for us. The sermon was being preached by a very enthusiastic  preacher. We all liked what he was saying. Then it started to rain really hard. But he kept on preaching with the P.A. system blaring loudly over the sound of a downpour of rain on the tin roof over our heads. George told us later that it was a unique ceremony. I won’t give the details because we may want to borrow some of it for one of our up and coming weddings. After the preaching the bride and groom exchanged rings, prayed and then were seated on the stage. There was a little commotion of chairs being moved to the stage, and suddenly we found ourselves seated amongst the relatives on the stage, being served by the bride and groom bite sized pieces of cake followed by a plate full of …uh….. food….. we still aren’t sure what kind of meat we were supposed to eat off that plate. We did our best and washed it down with Stoneys and Fanta orange soda. During the meal friends and relatives gave their blessing and advice. I looked up as Noah was being handed the mike, then me, then Joel.  We said some nice things, thanked them and went on our way.

We got home and chatted a little with Petranilla. She asked me questions about life in America. As we talked I realized how different our lives are and how hard it was for her to even relate to our lifestyle. She is a tailor and when she was told by Nathanael that Rachel was a “tailor” too she pictured her with a little shop with a sewing machine that she sat at and sewed for people every day for a business. I told her that people mostly bought their clothes ready made and that we sew mostly for special occasions.  She didn’t have a clue what I meant by ready made. If the tailors didn’t make the clothes then how did they get made? I told her factories made them. She was shocked.

She asked what kind of jobs the ladies do. I listed a few and mentioned that Marlene hangs wall paper. You can only imagine what confusion that would bring. She doesn’t know what wall paper is. I tried to explain but I think she may think it’s something like the unframed posters they put on their walls.  She went home. We had some greens and ugali and went to bed.

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