Tuesday, May 29, 2012

I Now Pronounce You Man and Wife….Part 2

Drum roll please.....the problem was....a broken fuel pump.  Now another problem is where the heck do you find a fuel pump in the bush?  Never fear, Johnny was all over it.  He took off on the motorbike again and Meredith and I went back to our movie.  45 minutes later he was back with a fuel pump.  He told me that these are VERY hard to find and he was surprised he could find one.  Thanks Jesus! (Also, sorry to the person who may have had their car at the mechanic and this pump was "borrowed" from their car.  I learned later that it's pretty common....)  Anyway, Johnny jimmy rigged the fuel pump with a bunch of wires connected to wires connected to wires....and Boris purred like a kitten!  I won't tell you how much I spent because I don't know how much these things are supposed to cost in real life, let alone in the middle of nowhere.  Let's just say I'll definitely use my "car maintenance" portion of my budget this month.  And next month. Seriously though, I'm very thankful it turned out so well. Johnny started telling us about the sketchy things that happen on that road and I was glad that neither we nor Boris had to spend the night out there.  

So after a delightful 4 hour breakdown, we were back on the road.  We drove for another hour or so and reached the city we were staying in. We were shown to our room.  Air conditioning and hot water.  H.E.A.V.E.N.  For dinner, we had the best pizza I've ever had.....maybe in my life. 

Before Johnny left us he told me that the next day I needed to take Boris to the mechanic and have them pull my old, broken fuel pump from the gas tank.  The next morning I woke up bright and early to take my car in....... but then I got tired.  I called my friend who works with me and asked if I REALLY need to take it in this morning. Isn't it ok to leave it until tomorrow? I'm tired! He gave me a hard time for being lazy about my car (might have had a point there) so I decided to take it in.  Car stuff is just so boring!!!  I took it to the mechanic that my friend knew but the mechanic was out of town so his apprentice helped me.  He said it would take a couple hours so I gave him my keys, hopped on a motor bike and headed back to the hotel. 
I’m not sure if this kid had ever driven before….but at least he was careful. He took my “please drive slowly” VERY seriously!

A couple hours later he came back with my car and Meredith and I headed to the engagement.  It was originally supposed to start at 4pm but right before we were getting ready to leave I got a call from my pastor friend that it was going to be delayed until 5.  Since we were all gussied up in our African dresses, we decided to head there anyway to hang out with people and see if we could help. 

We hopped into Boris and away we went.  For about 10 minutes.  Then the same thing happened again, and Boris just died.  Darnit!!!  I called the mechanic who had "fixed" it this morning and asked if he could please get his hiney out here and fix it for real.  While we were waiting, for some reason I decided to show Meredith the dance to "Joyful Joyful" (Sister Act 2...anyone?) that I learned when I was in middle school.  Several feet away a little girl started copying my sweet moves.  Please be impressed that at 30 years old I can still remember almost every move from that dance. And have now performed it in Africa.  How very international.
Meredith dressed up for our breakdown #2

Mechanic Man came and fixed us up again and we were off.  Since we'd been delayed by a mini breakdown when we got to the village we were right on time for the engagement.  Or so we thought. They weren't ready to start yet so they showed us to a little room where we could wait.  While we were waiting there I was chatting with the groom and the pastor.  Something came up about the grooms mother and since I knew the groom was actually from the Cameroon and not Sierra Leone, so I jokingly volunteered to be his mother.  They all started laughing but then suddenly it was part of the program.  He's a good 10 years older than I am, but I am his mother. 

This was our “waiting” face. We used it a lot, but don’t we look excited??
After about an hour of waiting we were moved down to the house where the engagement would take place.  All right! Things are starting to happen! We were shown inside the house and told to take a seat.  After sitting there for a while we heard some singing outside so we went out there.  It was family and friends singing, dancing, having a grand ole' time.  So we watied out there.  And waited.  At about 7:30 (getting dark by now) we were taken back inside the house...to wait some more.  When I asked what was going on, the pastor told me.  Although the bride's father had given his blessing the night before, some family had arrived in town who were concerned that since the groom was from the Cameroon, he was going to take his bride there to live and they would never see her again.  Wow!  The pastor ended up signing a paper that said HE would be held responsible if the groom took his wife back to his home country.  Interesting.......
I found someone to keep me busy while I waited

Now it was really getting late.  Meredith and I decided that we had to leave by 9:30. I usually try not to drive at night and that was my original plan....when it was going to start at 4pm!  Since now I was going to be driving at night, (the hotel is about an hour away from the village) I didn't want it to be so late that there would be no one on the road if I broke down.  Not that that would ever happen.

At 9:20 things started happening.  And we were in the middle of the circle....no way to escape at 9:30.  I had no idea if this was going to last 1 hour or 5 hours.  Oh dear.  They called me into a room and gave me a bowl of stuff. As the groom's "mother" it was my job to hand this bowl to the man representing the groom's father when he asked for it. 

The man representing the groom's father (we'll call him Joseph) started off by telling everyone that he and his family have seen someone they want in this house.  He went on to describe her....beautiful, tall, etc. And her name is Finda.  That is why we've come.  And here is what we've brought to show that we're serious.  I gave him the bowl of stuff. 

This bowl is called the calabash.  It contains everything that the groom's family is giving to the bride's family, for their daughter.  Inside the bowl was some material for her mother and father (to make some clothes), a mat to lie down on, some money (this time it was about $125), some kola nuts...and I'm sure a few other things that I can't remember.  See what a bad mother I am?  They dispersed these items one by one to the family. 

At this point, an elderly genteman spoke up and said that no, HE wanted to marry Finda.  He brought out some money (a dollar or two) and gave it to the bride's father. They all chatted for awile and I guess he lost out. But then ANOTHER elderly man (think, toothless old) that said he wanted to marry Finda.  More money, more talk.  No go buddy. Looks like the groom is going to get her!!

So now where is she?  Joseph starts asking for her to come.  Come, come, bring Finda!!  There were some ladies in the next room who said, "She's coming. Wait! Her car has had a flat tire. Send some money to fix the tire!"  So Joseph sent some money.  A lady came in with a veil over her face and sat down in the middle of the circle.  Joseph went to lift the veil and, low and behold it wasn't Finda. It was an imposter!  He sent her back and asked for the real Finda.  A couple more veiled girls came after some more money was sent to them and finally, the real Finda arrived.  She sat down in the circle with her face uncovered but the veil still over her head.  Then they brought in the groom and he sat next to her.  The bride's father asked both of them some questions. The only one I caught was "You're not going to leave him/her?" to which they both responded "No!"  Then the food came out and the dancing started.  We ate some delicious food ("festive" food is different from the traditional spicy stuff....although this was still pretty spicy) and headed out.  We calculated that it was about 6 hours of waiting for one hour of ceremony.  But we were SO glad that we stayed.  It was a very fun experience!

Finda in her wedding wear
It was now about 11pm and we headed back to the hotel.  No clifhanger this time....we made it back in one piece.  Took our hot shower and went to sleep in our air conditioned room.  We have to rest up for the church wedding the next day!

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