What a crazy weekend in the Congo!
Friday and Saturday were the wedding festivities, and that was a lot to see! Friday, before the actual ceremony, we went to the bride’s reception. It’s probably comparable to a rehearsal dinner, but it was very exclusive (you had to have your invitation in hand to even get in) and it was thrown by the bride’s family. We were in a big room in a catholic church with a ton of people all seated. There’s an MC screaming into the microphone and music playing loudly, so we can hardly hear each other to talk. That’s a thing here, I’ve noticed. Everything that involves music and microphones is over-the-top loud!
So there we were, seated in the front row next to the groom’s father (which is apparently an honor, I think it’s just because we are whiteys) when the music changed and people started cheering; the Bride was coming. In walk two little twins, about four years old, dressed alike and adorable, in front of the bride, her mom and dad, and a couple of wedding coordinators. They made their way to the front of all three sections of people, put both hands up and waved to everyone. Then finally they got to sit in these big comfy zebra striped chairs in the middle of the room. The strangest thing about all of this—the bride never smiled! Not once! It’s their culture here not to smile! I can’t understand that. That has to be so hard to do.
Then the MC and the bride start wandering around the room and I’m not really sure what’s going on because I don’t know Swahili and Brenda can’t understand the guy because he’s screaming into the microphone. We finally figure out that she’s searching the crowd for her groom. She finally “finds” him, and the whole place goes nuts. But still, no smiles from the bride or the groom. What. On. Earth.
They finally get settled in their big comfy, awesome chairs and we get ready to eat. The MC says something about saying a prayer and then there’s a pause, like they didn’t know who was supposed to pray. He walks over to the FOB and they exchange a few whispers (except they probably were shouting because of the music) and then the MC starts walking toward us and guess who he asks to pray. ME! What?! In Swahili he said, “Will our sister pray for us?” Now? In front of all these people? In a language you can’t understand?! Yep. So I pray! And everyone cheers afterwards. I think they understood “amen” and maybe “Jesus”. They must have just seen me walking around taking pictures and took me as someone of importance. Or maybe it’s because I’m a whitey.
Then we eat. And I wish I could tell you what we ate. But I’m not really sure what most of it was! French fries (that they dip in mayonnaise!) , a piece of bread that looked like a waffle, some fried dough, some kind of meat, I think it was beef, and peanut butter was all piled on your plates and we ate with our hands. Whew. When we were finished, they never came and took our plates because there was so much food left on it. Everyone else cleaned their plates. There’s no way. So much food.
After dinner the FOB got up and was thanking people. After a while he turned to us and spoke to us. Brenda told me he was thanking us for coming all the way from America just to be a part of the celebration. It was very sweet.
Then music came on and everyone danced for a bit and we ducked out of there. It was hard to leave, people kept coming up to us wanting to shake our hands and kiss our cheeks! We were celebrities of some sort!
The next day was the actual wedding. Ed was doing the ceremony, and told us the wedding was supposed to start at 10. So we get there at 10:05 and wait a while before it starts. This is Africa time. When it does start, a choir came up to sing. These choirs are SO great! They are dancing and singing and it’s SO loud! But I love it. There were three choirs at this wedding, two youth choirs and one children’s. All three sang throughout the wedding.
Here I sit, thinking about this wedding, and I’m not even really sure what to tell you! I can’t remember as much detail because it was four hours long and Brenda wasn’t sitting by me to translate! There were a lot of speakers, a lot of choirs, and a lot of noise! But it was so fun! The bride and groom were both dressed in white, the bride all lacy and frilly and poofy. No smiles, of course. Actually, the groom snuck a few in. Naughty. When Ed preached he told them both to smile before the ceremony was over or he wasn’t going to leave. That got people laughing.
At a wedding Ed did a while ago, he did the sand illustration (You know, where the bride pours some sand in and the groom pours other sand in, and it mixes together, like their lives from now on..). They loved it at that first wedding. So now he’s done it at three. He pulled out the jars at this wedding and the place went nuts. They knew what was coming and were so excited for it. I think Ed preached well, but I couldn’t actually tell because I don’t know Swahili. The people seemed to like it.
Four hours later, the wedding was over. It was lovely and fun and entertaining but SO dang HOT! They seated us up front with all the speakers because they didn’t want us to get too hot sitting with the crowd of people. Or because we were whiteys. Good thing though, we were roasting on stage as it is.
The reception was held a little later in the afternoon at that same Catholic Church we were at for the bride’s reception, just in a bigger room. They wanted to sit us in the front row again, but the front row was right next to the loud speakers, and us whiteys can’t handle the noise. So we begged and they moved us to the second row. Also, they turned down the music.
After a while, the Bride and Groom came in. What a show! Bridesmaids were dancing all around them, they were spraying this white stuff on them, and there were sparklers. It was really cool! The waved to all the sections of people again and got to take a seat.
We ate the same sort of stuff we had at the other reception, only they added a few things, like chicken, kabobs, and fish. Full fish. With the head and all. Two different kinds. Bah. I skipped out on those. They were looking at me. The guy next to me got some. And he cleaned his plate completely. Bones and all.
The electricity kept going in and out, so I think the reception was cut short. We got to see the people giving the couple presents, which was another cool thing. The bride and groom stand and the front of the room and people carry their gifts up to them. They dance the whole way. So cool. We watched them cut their cake and we each got fed a piece. Yep, fed. The groom picked up a small piece with a toothpick and put it in our mouths. It was good cake though!
The electricity was out at this point, so we got in the car and left. Another long, exhausting day.
Then came Sunday. I’ll be quick with this one. Church starts at 9. We got there at 9:15. Three different choirs, a couple different speakers, loud music. It only lasted about two and a half hours. Ed preached, I think he did well, but I don’t know Swahili. The Choirs sounded awesome, especially the kids choir, and we sat up front on stage again.
After church we went to lunch and a restaurant because there was no electricity or water at the house. I had really good fish and fries and Taylor got chicken curry. We came home and did a little work around the house, played some cards and then about 9:30 Taylor and I grabbed a movie and went to bed.
A few things to pray about:
- Taylor is sick. It looks like something similar to the flu, but Ed says this happens sometimes to people just adjusting to the food and everything here. Pray that’s all it is, and he didn’t pick up anything.
- Brenda is also sick, but it may not be the same as what Taylor has.Pray for quick healing.
- Water and electricity are very sparse. Ed is really trying to get the electricity fixed, but things haven’t been working out very well.
Sorry this post was so long! I had so much to tell! Thanks for your prayers. Keep ‘em coming!