Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Wedding In Kongowea

Traditionally, for weddings on the coast, there is a kesha the day before the wedding at the home of the bride or groom. Since our wedding was invite only (so half of Kongowea wouldn't show up), Kelvin wanted to do the kesha so the community could come celebrate with us. I stayed out of it while him and his family organized the whole thing. All I had to do was show up. 

I have to admit that it was a blast! 

The bride (and her family) are welcomed by singing, dancing and piga vigelegele (making noise with their tongues like cheering) by the women of the family. All the ladies in the above photos are relatives of mine, with Kelvin's mom joyously singing in the middle (with the white top.) 

I got big hugs from all my family as I got out of the vehicle. My family also got big hugs as the ladies continued to dance and sing. Then I was ushered into the house. 

Kasondra is such a trooper. I don't think she knew what to expect when we arrived.

As I was walking into the house, the ladies covered me with lessos as to hide my face from the groom. I guess the groom is not suppose to see me until the actually wedding. I was a bit confused..I thought this was only a muslim tradition but I guess not. Finally, my dear Aunty came and pulled off the lessos and told me, "well its just tradition but it doesn't mean much to us!" Ha. 

So there was a huge party with tons of people...and my family and I got to sit in our own room by ourselves. It was rather ironic that the party was celebrating ME and yet I didn't even get to interact with people. My parents thought it was especially weird. But we ate and were grateful! Kelvin was in the room next to us with strict orders to stay in there and not come out to see me. 

Then we danced inside with the ladies! 
And my family all got to go outside and dance for everyone.

SO happy the Ronos could make it even for this event!

Baba loved the dancing. I was told she danced more than any of my family. 

Meanwhile, I was stuck inside. I could hear all the music and cheering and laughing but wasn't aloud out. Again, I thought it was weird that it was MY party and yet I couldn't really do much. Kelvin snuck out of his room and went dancing. He even came and said hi to me, but then his granny scolded him.

I am so amazed the way the community pulled together for us. They were the ones who made this all happen. I love that the men are the ones serving the food. They are pretty efficient with their long lines of handing over plates. The boy in the middle is on our team. He just came home for holidays after being in an agriculture school in Eldoret. He came back a changed man. He also got to see the Ronos who work for the same organization as his school. It was a really cool reunion.

Some hungry men! 

On the left is Kelvin's youngest sibling, Diana (who has a twin brother). And on the right is Kelvin's niece. I always wanted sisters. Now I have six!
Granny herself! The whole shindig went down at her place. Unfortunately, she wasn't feeling great so she hid in her room. She didn't even make it to the wedding the next day. It was too bad as she was one of the people most excited for us. 

The food is dished out on these big plates and handed out to people. One dish serves 2-3 people who sit on the floor (or on the dirt) and eat it with their hands. Saves a lot on cutlery and dishes...just gotta make sure your hands are clean..and the hands of the person you are sharing the plate with. 

I think Mom and Dad were really touched by the whole event. They didn't know what they were getting themselves into but they totally enjoyed themselves. I think they were more content knowing that I have a family and community that will take care of me. 

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