A Reflection of My Life after living in Uganda as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer

Monday, August 9, 2010

Joan Gets Married!

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A good friend of mine, Joan, got married on Saturday. She and her husband have been saving their money for 12 years to get married. Weddings are big productions in Uganda. They cost a lot of money, mainly because of the bride price involved. The common practice is to cohabit for years before actually having an introduction ceremony (presenting the bride price) and the wedding ceremony. Joan and Christopher have 2 adorable children together: Michael age 11 and Allan age 4. The whole family was excited and happy. And they all looked so smart!

I learned more about Ugandan weddings that day. Everyone dresses up in their fanciest clothes. This means women dress up in cast-off American prom dresses from the 80's and 90's. The older or more traditional women wear glittered-out gomezes (traditional dress). Men wear a kanzu, traditional long gowns with a black suit jacket. The church is decorated in the tackiest fake flowers and mismatching embroidered clothes. The bride comes into the church on the arm of her father or male family member. The choir sings Here Comes The Bride. The maid-of-honor and best man's most important job is wiping the flowing sweat off the bride and groom with white handkerchiefs throughout the service. The priest lifts the brides vale once the vows have been made. The wedding party sits in white plastic chairs on the side of the church. And really, the ceremony is more a full mass with a few quick vows thrown in there.

Everyone was so happy to be at this wedding. Women yelled out the traditional scream, drums were beating and everyone sang with gusto. After the wedding was picture time and I somehow found myself in quite a few. In the past, I would know I was the token white person they can show all their neighbors, friends and family. I would give them an elevated status. And I know, when Joan and Christopher show the pictures, this will still be the case. But I also know that we have a relationship and I wanted to be in those pictures for Joan. We are friends and she can look back at those pictures as time goes on and remember her friend Amanda who came to her wedding.

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