Thursday, April 2, 2015

HERE COMES THE BRIDE - UGANDAN STYLE

Last Saturday found Keith and I traveling to one of our village churches for a wedding.  This makes wedding #18 for Keith to officiate here in Uganda.  On Friday night, Keith informed me that they wanted me to play the keyboard.  Surprise!  Yet, I thought, "No problem.  The keyboard has the "Wedding March" programed."  (I thought this because we have used the pre-programmed "Pomp and Circumstance" for graduations.)

Saturday morning when we got to the village, I started looking through the keyboard selections -- once, then again.  It wasn't there!  Out came a 3x5 card and pen, and I picked out the basic tune as people began coming in.  I was ready.  After the men were on the platform, I started the song.  The first couple of times were a little rough, but by the fifth time, I had it down pat.  And by the 40th time, I had it memorized -- no exaggeration!  I played, and played, and played, but the bride didn't come.  I glanced at Keith, and he said to keep playing, and FINALLY the ladies came down the aisle.  (I'm still not sure what the hold up was.)

Mary and Charles first met at the church we started in the village
I guess you can tell that Keith and I have been here quite a while as neither of us were stressed at all over the ceremony beginning an hour late.  Then I begin to think about things we experience here that would probably be unusual in America, and I decided to share them with you.

* No rehearsal.  We have never had a rehearsal here.  The ceremony is just play-by-ear, since no one comes from the village until the day of the wedding.
* The guests clapped in time to the Wedding March...and any time during the ceremony when they agreed with what was said.

The bride must kneel before her husband for the cake and soda.
* Keith was asked to lead the congregation in singing three hymns after his short sermon before the vows.
* The bride isn't supposed to smile.  To do so shows her family that she is glad to leave them and portrays ungratefulness. The times when Mary did find herself breaking into a smile, she quickly dipped her head until she got composed.

My handsome groom of 22 years
* The flower girl and bridesmaids were hired with the dresses.
* The bridesmaids sat down.  I really don't know why they did, except that they saw the chairs and thought it would be nice to sit.
* The maid-of-honor and best man wiped sweat off the bride and groom frequently throughout the day.
* After the ceremony, the couple stayed on the platform and asked different people to come forward to get their picture taken with them.

Savannah said the ducks wanted to get married, too.
* The bridesmaids (and other people who were dressed up very nicely) wore flip-flops.
* Ducks waddled through the reception.

After our meal, the ladies washed all the dishes in the midst of the banana trees
with no running water.
* The reception was in the middle of the banana plantation.
* The cake was chopped - literally...or maybe I should say hacked.  Only at the weddings where I have made and served the cake has it been nicely cut.
* The bride and groom walked around and served the guests the cake, with the bride kneeling before each group.

This was probably the most beautifully decorated reception we have been to.
Wedding decorations have come a long ways!  For several years, the decor was colored toilet paper, the tape of cassette tapes and video tapes, and burned out light bulbs hanging from the ceiling.  Now there are wedding decorators who coordinate the colors!

Please pray that Charles and Mary will build their marriage on godly principles and be a light shining to their families and friends.