Sunday, September 23, 2007

A Happy Wedding Afternoon

Dancing ladies, a sober and stunning bridal couple, awkwardly white visitors, tin plates piled high with African food, a PA system that was worse than nails on the chalkboard, joy, fun, love and marriage.

This was our Saturday afternoon.

Peter and Tammy, Byron and I went to the wedding of Adam and Lina out in a village called Kiserian. (For those who care, Kiserian means peace, peaceful or peacefully in Maa.)

Sorry to not have any neat photos of the event. I never remember my camera anymore and I’m kind of out of that need-a-photo-of- everything mode.

Anyway, the village is wonderfully simple and filled with the familiar sounds of Maasai voices. It’s not the traditional Maasai setting of little dung huts. Things are FAR more developed than the “neighborhood” we used to live in years ago in Kenya.

The family had made a tarp of tied together sheets etc and rigged up a covered area where all the reception guests gathering in chairs facing forward. We were seated at the front near the bridal couple whose stood facing the crowd.

Let me say that they were both gorgeous, if a little tired from a long wedding day. Now they had to stand while the guests filed past to shake hands and give their gifts. I wished for their sake that they could #1 smile and not look so serious (it’s very African to look serious for events like this) and #2 sit down!

I was struck with the funny collection of western traditions that were all mixed through the event. Mostly, I was thinking of the decorations: plastic flowers on tables, plastic leis around the necks of the bridal pair, sodas in bottles set out in front of the bridal party, tinsel, banners, balloons.

I thought about how we would say they were using things out of place. Like leis belong at Hawaiian themed things, or balloons are for birthdays and tinsel is for Christmas. That’s what westerners might say. But I thought about how weird we are in the west to dictate what can be used when. Why not decorate with whatever you feel like using? Ok, I would avoid plastic flowers but hey, they were pretty darn practical out in that dusty village setting.

Tammy and I noted that a lot of the ladies came in matching outfits. Sisters or girlfriends or whatever would have matching dresses. They also really go for the big clip in hairpieces at these events. Lots of big stuff perched on heads.

The swaying line of dancing women who presented their gifts with enthusiasm inspired Tammy and I. We decided that we’re going to get us some matching duds. Yep, we need matching wedding kits. And we need some good hairpiece things from the States. I’m thinking a beehive clip-one would look really cool on both of us.

I promise you this, if we get this together and go to another wedding, I will NOT forget my camera.

4 comments:

Jenelle said...

I got dibs on the autographed photo of you and Tammy in matching kits and beehive clip-ons. Wow.

There is a pretty famous Baltimore (-on) event appropriately named, "Hon-fest" in which you'd do quite well with said beehive.

Jenelle said...

Although I'd say that Washington, D.C. doesn't know a thing about my Baltimore, this is a pretty good look at Honfest 2006.

Maybe next summer you and Tammy could come!

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/06/06/AR2006060601205.html

lisa said...

OK I was off of email while on skype to friends in WA and now I see in my inbox 6 emails from YOU! Ok, two were notifying me of these two comments but I have to say I like getting a landslide of Nelly mails!

Will check out the hon-fest :-)

Jenelle said...

I was trying to think of some way to start singing that Stevie Nicks song after your Landslide comment, but I just can't come up with anything.