Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Wedding

As mentioned in my last blog, Sunday before we took Andi to the airport we attended our driver Caesar’s wedding. I got to wear my first dress – or “man-dress” if you will – which is called a Kanju (Kon-Jew). I don’t have a full length picture but I’m hoping Andi does and I’ll link to it if she posts (and sure enough here it is). Andi’s dress wasn’t exactly what she was expecting – she thought she looked more like a gipsy – but it still looked very nice. Unfortunately we had to leave early to get to the airport so we didn’t get to stay for the whole wedding, but we got to see enough – and we were given enough information – that I got a general idea of what was going on.

The wedding itself was very interesting and quite a bit different than a traditional church type wedding. One thing we all noticed was how much laughing there was. The ceremony – which is called an “introduction” because it’s the first time the groom meets the bride’s parents – is very elaborate and festive. It involves many different parts where members of the bride’s family are played on to stage by loud music. As the members dance out on to stage, which is surrounded by guest on three sides, two men talk back and forth throughout. I had no idea what was being said but due to the tone, and all the laughter coming from the non-muzungu guest, it was clear that everything was very lighthearted and fun.

There are many other details – like the dowry system (yes sometime after we left a cow changed hands) and the groom hiding among the guest so the bride has to go find him – that I couldn’t begin to understand, so I won’t try to explain them. All and all – and this may upset some readers – it was just more fun than our weddings. I have to mention that they, typically, also have a faith based wedding following this ceremony and it’s probably just as boring as ours. But at least they have the introduction and I’m told once the bride and groom leave the after party can go to the next day… I’m just saying.

Another Week in Uganda

Well, I was supposed to go back to Kansas City last Sunday (July 25) but I decided to stick around in Uganda for another week (and no I haven’t been working on my tan). I figured since it takes so long to get over here I might as well stay, because it’s takes just as long going the other way. While I’m here I’ll get to attend the next Peace Journalism seminar in Kampala, which is today and tomorrow. On August 1 I’ll head to Amsterdam – where I’ll be for five days, hopefully with a detour to Paris for a day or two – and on August 6 I’ll head home. I’ve yet to work out all the details – like where I’m going to stay and how I’m going to pay for this (I might actually have to get a job when I get home) – but I’m guessing it will all work out.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Today We Are WHAT? … Leaving Gulu.

We’re wrapping up the five day seminar here in Gulu and getting ready to head back to Kampala. I’m almost tempted to pray we don’t get a flat tire or have any car troubles, but I’ll leave the praying to the mob of missionaries who’ve descended on the Church Hill hotel in the last few days. For my part I’ll just hope for the best and expect the wheels to fall off our SUV in the middle of nowhere.

On Sunday we are WHAT? … Headed back to the states. Before we leave however Andi, Steve, and I have been invited to our driver Caesar’s wedding. It’s not just any wedding though, it’s a traditional Bugandan wedding and we all have to go shopping for some tribal garb. Pictures will follow but from what I understand Steve and I will be wearing something that could generally be described as a “man dress.” Based on the descriptions I’ve heard so far it’s basically a decretive knee length shirt, so it shouldn’t be too awkward – or so I hope. Andi on the other hand will be wearing one of the traditional dresses with the big bows in front, like the ones in the picture.

And now I guess I should explain the WHAT? … Why I keep putting “WHAT?” in the in the middle of statements, and transforming them into rhetorical questions for no good reason. You’ll be happy to know that this is not a practice I plan to continue, I’ve been doing it because many of the Ugandans here in the Gulu area do it and I find it rather strange. At first I thought it was kind of amusing when Andi pointed it out to me but now it’s starting to wear on me. It only stands out when someone does it in the middle of every other sentence, which can drag a conversation out. And you have to imagine someone talking this way to really get the full effect. I don’t think reading it really does this phenomenon any justice. I recommend you give it a shot next time you go to the WHAT? … The bar or something.