Friday, January 31, 2014

A Wedding in Amina

On Sunday, I went to a wedding and pulled a Sherlock. By which I mean I left early, not solved a murder.

It started like this. Dani and I were talking about weddings, because I've missed two since I've been here. And apparently, there was one Sunday for Tadeck's cousin. Did I want to go? It was close to the River Boru, so maybe a 30 minute walk.

What else was I going to do? Laundry? Psh.

But I quickly realized that 30 minutes was a underestimated guess. Try closer to 50.

And of course, we were the first ones there.

I don't mind weddings, I've been to a few already here in Ethiopia but they had all been during PST. Nothing in about two years. And all of those insentiences had been brief. Two hours, top. Here it was, noon, and Dani explained the day to me.

We were at the groom's house. A car was coming from Huruta, picking people up to come here, including the groom. Then, we would eat. After that, we'd all pile in the car and head to the bride's house for a second lunch. Then come back for dinner, music and dancing. Dani estimated that we'd be back at 7. That is, 7 international time, not 7 Ethiopian time (aka 1 in the afternoon) like I thought she meant back at the house.

Oh man.

At about one, the bus arrived and in came a flood of people. I'm not entirely sure who they all were. I gathered from the high class suits there were only two groomsmen (and no bridesmaids, they were at the bride's house). I figure some were family, some friends. It didn't matter much. They were all rhythmically clapping their hands, cheering for the groom, and bouncing on their toes as they did so.

We ate lunch, which was quite a spread, and I was beginning to get really uncomfortable. Sure, I had Dani and Tadeck to talk to, but I was surrounded by Amharic in a stuffy tent with a hundred people that kept staring at me. I'm considered a source of entertainment here. Oh my! Look! There's a foreigner here! You'd think I'd be used to it now, and while walking down the street I usually am. It's harder when you're in a crowd.

There's never any after meal conversation in Ethiopia. You eat, you go. Within 30 mins, everyone was finishing their meals and the groom was being escorted out of the compound with more clapping and a three toned honk from the bus waiting to take him to his bride.

Really? Isn't the bride just down the next street in this tiny village? Can't we just parade it?

Nope. I somehow found myself squished into a private car with Dani, one of Tadeck's brothers, a strange man and women, the driver (who actually lived in Addis and was rented for the day), and two random kids (which belonged to none of us). Apparently the bride didn't live in the village. Nor did she live in Huruta. She lived beyond it. And we were all going to get there thanks to two motorcycles, this private car, and a bus meant for 26 people.

Sorry, I love free food, but I can only take so much.

Dani supported my decision to get out of the car in Huruta. It was too hot for me, she could tell by the way I had guzzled qeneito (I think the most appropriate way to describe it would be barleyade). The only problem was, the caravan didn't go through Huruta. They went through the rural areas instead.

So I hopped out at the bridge just before the river, very grateful I had brought my umbrella to keep the sun off me, and watched the rest of the party go on. Dani later said she wished she got out with me.

I walked home, washed my feet, they were filthy, and then watched movies, crocheted some of my shawl, and wrote. Dani and Tadeck didn't come back till 8, well after dark, looking exhausted and a little peeved there hadn't been coffee. Still, the rest of the day had been nice, if nothing new, as faces changed at the different locations. The couple was happy, and now if I didn't mind, they were going straight to bed.


Annalisa Crawford said...

That sounds like an intense day for the bride and groom. But your day sounds good too :-)

Anonymous said...

Hi - I'm enjoying your narratives. I am exploring bloggers who are listed above and below me on the A to Z Challenge so I'll know who I want to visit in April. I will come back to read more of your posts.

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