Saturday, June 2, 2012

I Now Present You Man and Wife...Part 3

The wedding on Saturday was the church wedding. This wedding costs a lot of money, so most people here won’t have it. Or sometimes they’ll have the traditional ceremony and then save up for a few years to have the big wedding. In this case, the wedding had been put off several times because they had to save some more money.

We were told the wedding was supposed to start at one. You can understand our skepticism based on last night’s timeline, but when the pastor told me that it was really supposed to start at 12 but they told me 1pm because it was going to be on “black man’s time” we got there right at one.

They had already started and the church was packed with people singing and dancing. The bride and groom were dressed in their wedding attire and stood at the front of the church. They each had two attendants and the women both had big, white, lacy fans that they used to continually fan the bride. It was hot!

We were standing in the back just watching when the pastor came and got us to come to the front. Of course. I can never just sneak in anywhere in this country! I was actually glad for it this time because we got to be up front where the action was.

The ceremony was actually pretty similar to the ones that I’ve seen at home (of course all with an African flair). There was a worship time, exchanging of the vows and rings, special music, the first kiss, and a few words from the pastor about marriage. Here are a few ways it was different than the weddings I’ve been to in the States.

1. It was hot. So many people, so much dancing and so little air. I can safely say that I have never sweated that much at a wedding at home.

2. The first kiss. There was SO much buildup! The pastor spent about a minute just talking about it, making it a big deal. He kept talking about how this had better be a really good kiss and the groom better not mess it up, etc. Then as the groom started to lift the veil he would say “stop” “Ok go” “stop” over and over again. Finally the veil was off and the groom pretty much attacked her! (Can’t say I blame him since there was so much pressure!) Anyway, it was hilarious.

3. I wish you could have been with me because I really can’t describe it well enough….you just have to experience it. During the vows, the pastor said “Ok, this is a very serious time.” He then went on to say the “Do you take this woman” bit. At the end when the groom said “I do” EVERYONE started shouting and cheering. My favorite part was the synthesizer that started blasting music. It reminded me of being at a baseball game. Du du du du du du…..CHARGE!! After about a minute, the pastor again said, “Ok, everyone quiet, this is a serious time.” And the same thing happened again with the bride saying “I do” and everyone shouting and clapping, synthesizer blaring. Repeat again for both sets of vows and it was “serious time” “party time” “serious time” “party time.” Loved it.

After the ceremony it was time for the reception. But first we drove around town with the wedding party, honking our horns and yelling “the wedding is here!!!!!” We did a few loops around town and then stopped in the center for some picture taking. It is pretty much impossible to get a picture with just the bride and/or groom because someone always wants to jump in the picture. I was not successful.
No idea who the guy on the right is.  He just jumped in at the last second. Also,I realized I wore white to a wedding.  Not cool Emily, not cool.

We headed back to the hall for the reception and once again Meredith and I tried to hang out in the back but weren’t allowed. We were taken up on stage with the wedding party and pastors. Oh dear. While we ate, we listened to various people give toasts. My favorite part of the toasts was when someone started talking too long one of the pastors would give them a “red or yellow card” which meant it was time for them to sit down and shut up. One guy had to be given a couple before he stopped. J

We were done with our party by about 6:30pm and were ready to head out. I said goodbye and headed back to the city (with a few extra passengers bumming rides). Incidentally I met the first Sierra Leonean “Emily” here! We were about halfway to the hotel when I noticed that my car seemed to be pulling to the right. Hard! Then it would stop. Then it would do that again. It also started making a weird noise that sounded like it was coming from the front wheel. Boris, you’re killing me!!! I drove “small small” all the way back and thankfully made it. Now my question was, do I try to travel tomorrow????

It takes about 8 hours to get home and all but about 20 minutes of it is on really rough road. After some consultation from my friend/advisor in all things mechanical, we decided that it sounded like a breakdown waiting to happen. I decided to give Johnny a call. Since the last time he’d fixed my car it worked and when I used the mechanic in the city, it broke again, I decided to go with Johnny. I agreed to pay his transport if he could come and look at my car early the next morning.

He came at about 8am the next morning and started looking at things. He was pretty horrified at the condition of my car. Whatever. This is Sierra Leone! He did show me what my problem was, as well as a brake problem that I was having. We discussed what he would do and I asked what time he’d be finished. Meredith and I had decided that if he could finish by 12 we would still try to travel that day. He said he could be done by 1pm. Shoot, that’s pretty close. I told him what I was thinking and he said, “no….stay the day. Maybe I will not be done until 2 or 3pm.” Thanks Johnny. I’m tying to make decisions based on the information you’re giving me!! J We decided to stay the extra day. I gave Johnny half the money we’d agreed upon and the keys to my car. The text that I sent to my friend read: “I just gave my car keys and a lot of money to a guy I met on the side of the road. Bad decision?” Oh Salone.

Now what to do with our extra day off? We spent the morning doing some reading and chatting. While we were chatting some diamond miners came into the dining area and we told them our troubles. They gave us a hard time about our car and said that we’d still be sitting there on Wednesday and when I got my car back it would have all “new” parts…but none of the ones I’d wanted. Now I had to go out on the line for Johnny and defend, defend, defend. Come on Johnny, don’t let me down.

As the afternoon progressed, Johnny would call and give me updates. It didn’t sound like he was on his way to Liberia with my money and car. But they continued to harass us. They were a very nice and hilarious group of guys and one lady. They were a little rough around the edges. They said the F word every 5-10 seconds but would then apologize every 30th time or so. We were never sure why THAT particular F word was worthy of the apology. J

Anyway Johnny kept calling with his updates but by 6pm I started getting nervous. His “15 minutes” turned into an hour, but by 7pm he and my Boris were back!! We took it for a test drive and he seemed ready for the road! Johnny got a little sketchy when he kept telling me I needed to pay him some extra “insurance” money because he hadn’t wrecked my car or stolen it. Really? Pay you for not stealing my stuff? Sorry Johnny, no go. I know you’re already ripping me off…..

The next morning we hit the road by 8am. At one point we stopped halfway through to pick up some groceries and my car wouldn’t start when I tried it. I tried it again. Nothing. We decided to wait a few minutes, tried it again and it started. Not sure what was wrong, but praise God we made it home!! What an adventure! J

I was ready to close when I came upon this today in a book I’m reading. Adroniram Judson was the first missionary from America and was sent to Burma. The day he committed himself to go he met Ann Hasseltine, whom he immediately fell in love with. Continuing our theme of marriage, here is the letter he wrote to her father asking for her hand as a partner in marriage and missions:

“I have not to ask, whether you can consent to part with your daughter early next spring, to see her no more in this world; whether you can consent to her departure, and her subjection to the hardships and sufferings of missionary life; whether you can consent to her exposure to the dangers of the ocean, to the fatal influence of the southern climate of India; to every kind of want and distress; to degradation, insult, persecution, and perhaps a violent death. Can you consent to all this, for the sake of him who left his heavenly home, and died for her and for you; for the sake of perishing, immortal souls; for the sake of Zion, and the glory of God? Can you consent to all this, in hope of soon meeting your daughter in the world of glory, with the crown of righteousness, brightened with the acclamations of praise which shall redound to her Savior from heathens saved, through her means, from eternal woe and despair?”

Her father let her decide. She said yes.

Thanking God so much for telephones, Gmail, Facebook and blogging. They really sacrificed a lot back then!

The cutting of the cake.  Fun fact, the wedding party cuts the cake, as well as the bride and groom

My favorite pic.  So precious!
The Wedding Party

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