Day 369: Bridesmaids Yet Again

by lara vogel,

Well, yet again there was no water at Tumaini today. This is sad because we were not fully prepared for such a long water suspension and our kitchen is a tad in disarray. This was also sad because we had to go to our first Kenyan wedding, and we wanted to look our best. Showering is the most we can do toward this goal as cute clothes and make-up options are limited.

However, we might have made a few more efforts with water splashing had we known what the wedding was to entail. At first, the wedding basically included our playing quieter versions of tickling games with the smallest children at the back of the standing-room-only church wedding ceremony while the elders spoke at length in Kikuyu. The bride looked beautiful, but scared and quite stiff, a bit like a PC-colored Barbie doll—wedding edition. Some of the whispers in the back of the church by some of the older girls explained that this was an arranged marriage, so perhaps that had something to do with it. But we didn’t know…we were in the back of the church.

But not for long…we had 7 requests asking if we wanted seats (we didn’t) and they were trying to usher old ladies out of their pews for us (also something we didn’t want). But after watching the camera man of the wedding come by to do lengthy segments of full-body shots for the third time, we realized they wouldn’t let up. So when a truly old woman creaked her way down the aisle to ask us to come sit for the eighth time, we didn’t refuse. So she ushered us up the aisle, looking for empty spaces. Without finding any, she then ushered us up to the pulpit, and we took our seats next to the preacher, the (very) reverend’s wife, and the eldest of the elders. Obviously, we felt right at home.

Happily, the entire service continued to be in Kikuyu, so we had no idea what was going on, and we kept waving our hands as everyone around us was doing. But of course it turns out that you’re only supposed to do this hand waving to music if you are married. Lots of people smirked at the dumb American girls…but would that this were the least of our errors.

About halfway through the service, I pointed out to Claire that the man sitting next to her and whispering sweet nothings by way of explanation (“government law!”…”bride!”) was wearing black nylons underneath his teva-like sandals. Strange, sure…but for some reason, the black nylons on the 80 year old man combined with the cameras that kept training over to us, combined with the fact that we were sitting in the pulpit all just wove itself into a lot of attempts at silent laughter that kept both of us snorting to ourselves for the next 15 minutes. Claire tried to recover by acting like she just laughed inappropriately at everything for the rest of the day. I tried to sneeze a lot like I had allergies.

It was horrible. We were horrible. Claire at least left before the sermon in which the preacher kept turning around to talk to us. So I was left alone to nod and smile knowingly at the 3 sentences he uttered in English every 12 minutes. (This is not an exaggeration. I timed the sermon and then calculated averages in an attempt to stay awake).

But happy news at home when I finally made it—in that there was any news at home. Firstly--Claire’s article about HopeRuns is featured at (check it out! Pics and all!). Also, our RSS feeds are working, so I got to see some great pics of Ashley Olsen, and to read about Don Imus and Kurt Vonnegut (the latter of which made me extremely sad—funny how I don’t really think about some of my favorite authors being alive at all until their death).

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