For those of you that are following the blog I’m sorry that it has taken so long to post another entry. I have been very busy with wedding plans. When I look back over the 2 weeks since the pre-marital counselling I am lost for words. It has gone so quickly, I really don’t even know where the days disappeared to. After pre-marital counselling my focus was on the next committee meeting and then the arrival of my parents and Amber and Eric Pauls.
The committee meeting went well and even though we have not reached the original budget there is more than enough for a really nice wedding. The other differences here with weddings is the fact that it is now 4 days before the wedding and we are still giving out the invitations that were only printed a week ago. This is a totally normal practice here. It is also 4 days before the wedding and we do not have my fiancé’s suit yet, or the ties for him and the best man. We only just booked the room at the hotel we are going to stay at and I am sure there is still much that needs to be done.
This is how crazy it has been and the way my mind has been in many places at once. I was totally convinced that my parents were arriving on Feb. 20th so that is what I planned everything for. I had planned for the transport, the hotel, everything. So on the morning of the 19th I was traveling in a bus to Arusha to pick up the vehicle that we were going to rent 4 two weeks. And I got a text message from my dad telling me that they were in Amsterdam. I was excited until I realized that if they were in Amsterdam they only had a two hour layover and then an 8.5 hour flight to TZ. As I processed the text message and some basic math in my head the realization hit me that they would be in TZ in 10 short hours. 24 hours ahead of when I had made all the arrangements for. Wow how quickly my excitement turned to terror. I was stuck in a hot bus, with no time on my telephone to make any arrangements and a really long way from making them face to face. In the end God knew when they were coming and worked everything out for the hotel. Imagine my mom’s first time in Africa and I don’t even show up at the airport to pick her up, Terrible.
The stresses the week before a wedding are many. I can’t imagine doing it at home where I would actually have to participate on a large scale, meaning do everything. There are still 3 dresses to be made, three pairs of shoes to be bought, eye brows to be waxed, nails to be done, parties for me to go to, invitations to be given out, money to be collected and all of this while my husband is still working up to 2 days before the wedding. Some of you might think but all your other blog entries said how bored you were why did you not do these things then? Well my friends that is a really REALLY great question. The answer is simple; I did not know they needed to be done!
I have survived the last week only in the care of my beautiful maid of honour Neema, my future sister in law, who did not even get mad when I told her the dress she had made would not work and needed to be changed. That’s right, she is great.
At the following meeting the committee was trying to figure out what to do with people they call gate crashers. We would call them wedding crashers. They are people that come and do not know either the bride or the groom and just want to drink soda and eat dinner for free. So there was a ten minute discussion about which gate crashers to allow in and which to turn away. No final decisions were made, they will be made tomorrow at yet another and final committee meeting 3 days before the wedding, including who will get invitations.
In the culture here they do something called a send off party. During this party the bride’s family and friend “send her off” to be joined with the groom. So yesterday my friends in Arusha threw me a send off. It was not a big party but it was amazing. Two vehicles carrying 21 people from Marangu went including 3 people from the committee and some of my in-laws. My friends are from the Massai tribe and so if I am their sister then I am Massai. They dressed my up in the most beautiful Massai get up and they party began. It began with introductions and then a cake ceremony. Because they could not find a goat Margarette made a regular cake. My friend Amber and I were surrounded by women singing and dancing and then sat before everyone. I had to cut the cake and then feed her a piece and she had to feed me. This was met with much cheering. Then I had to pick Bariki out of a crowd and feed him a piece and he had to feed me. I was amazed that so few people could make such a loud noise. I then fed my parents, his parents and this other couple who I really don’t even know who they were.
Then came the shaking of hands which is actually the giving of gifts, the Massai women gave me two straw brooms which are about 2 feet long. I got two pieces of fabric worn when cooking and cleaning and also two pots for cooking. They were to teach me how to be a proper African wife. Then the Chugga women brought in this really long piece of fabric brought in wrapped it around Bariki and sang a song in Chugga to as a sign that they were excepting me into the Lyimo clan. It was really nice.