Sunday, March 11, 2012

A Wedding...?

Before I get to the story, I just have to say that I'm a bit perplexed at the absences of a few of my students. One of my students has Typhoid Fever (I saw her pass out), and another one was in a moto accident and her teeth were cut. I don't feel like these kind of occurrences happen every day in the US with classes. But here, it's happened.

I am so, so glad I have the Typhoid vaccine. I thought it was an obsolete thing to take, but now I find out, actually, it's very real. And I don't want to mess with that stuff. She looked absolutely wretched.

Denise and I were invited to a stranger's wedding a few weeks ago. We didn't want to go, but we said okay anyways. I was fully aware I would being the only white person there, so I was reluctant to go in the first place.

Anyways, her friend Ezekiel picked us up. He's kind of a bully, and I am not really sure why Denise still talks with him. But we got in the car. And he drove us past the airport into some area of town that is clearly poor. We jolt through decrepit streets to some warehouse church, that's hidden between houses on a treacherous dirt path loaded with cliff-like holes and craggy inlets. We slowed down in the area because of the roads, and EVERYONE
started shouting, "MZUNGU! MZUNGU!" and fled to our car window.
Little children were climbing through our windows with their hands outstretched, saying "Gimme money! Howah yooo?!" With little else to say.
It was maddening.
So! We get into the warehouse church (I think it's a revival church? The guy's a born again...).
Endless rows of hard wooden benches. A corrugated roof. And no lights. And big speakers blaring everywhere.
It was a wedding for two couples. They sat on the side of the wedding show while the preacher preached in Kinyarwandan.

People turned around to stare at me when I entered and sat down. Stared. Not just a glance. Full-on staring. So i took out my notebook and started writing notes. Something, anything. Just to keep myself busy. Denise and I looked at each other with perplexed looks, and looks of disdain, while the ranting preacher kept strumming along with the keyboard notes inthe background.
Ezekiel, for reasons unbeknownst to us, decided we had to go to the reception all of a sudden, even thought the wedding was still going on in the church. But he insisted, and we didn't mind (not like we were missing much in the wedding). He corraled us into a car and flew away to find the stranger with the car in the way of ours. While us girls are waiting in the car under the sweltering sun, little children crowded our windows again, saying once more, "Hello howah yooo?" over and over again.
Finally, we drove. Further away from town. To the site where the infamous presidential plane crashed (surprisingly, in the lawn of the president at the time) that spurred the genocide. Because, naturally, that's where the wedding reception was being held.

Yes. Really.
We walked around the grounds, which are actually pretty nice, but it started to downpour on us, so we ran into the tents where the reception was going to be held.
But nothing is ready.
We notice that, in the downpour, people start putting out the decorations. In the rain. Tell me how that makes sense, because I'm not quite sure. It's pouring, and they were wrapping a wire with cloth in the rain.
So we waited. Alone. No one else was there, really. And we waited for an hour.
People start showing up, but we have no idea what's going on. No one is talking to us, and we were sitting alone, in the periphery.

And the reception is being set up.
Receptions here consist of Fanta and cake, but nothing else. I believe the couples eat, but no one else does. The rationale, I have been told, is because it makes little sense to bother with all of the ceremonial food when they can use it to buy a car instead. Denise is appalled by this, as a wedding planner, and repeats to me, "It's common courtesy to feed the people here to celebrate with you! Why can't they just make even some rice and beans and feed the damn people?!" I don't know, Denise, I don't know.
Even as people set up the cakes and Fantas, and the crowds start filtering in, they weren't ready.
And eve more weddings kept coming in during this preparation time. And kept coming in some more. Yes, FOUR wedding receptions were being held at the same time at the place where the airplane crashed in 1994!

And then the band comes in. And much to my horror, they brought their big subwoofers and speakers to put on the grass....that was just rained on. With wires and cables and everything. I cringed.
We waited for an hour and a half for the reception to start, but it wasn't even ready to begin by the time we decided to leave and get some food.

Just plain silliness.

Fortunately, Denise and I knew how to entertain ourselves while the scenes unfolded in front of us. We planned weddings, in our heads. And, I must say, I have conjured up a pretty fantastic wedding party to try out someday. It'll be great!

1 comment:

Dave said...

I love your Adventure !