Well we’ve been pretty busy over the last few days. We had a double celebration this weekend with Son Number Three’s third birthday and a good friend of ours, Ama’s wedding.
One at a time I think!
First the wedding. We’ve been to a Ghanaian wedding before but there are different ways of doing it I now understand.
The traditional way, which was the first one we went to is to get ‘engaged’ in the house. In other words the actual official becoming man and wife is done in the wife’s house surrounded by immediate family. The couple then emerge and celebrate with friends and family with the usual speeches, food, dances etc, and the next day there is a church service.
Well Ama’s was slightly different in that they ran it along the same kind of lines as a Western wedding that we are familiar with. ie. Church service with the rite of marriage followed by the reception. I think that’s where the similarity kind of ended.
Being british were ‘on time’. Well to be honest we weren’t on time, we were an hour late but when we arrived the church was pretty much empty and we ended up waiting for rather a long time. The bride and groom did think of that and had a band and some singers keeping us entertained. And entertaining it was! I shouldn’t laugh here but it was the most excruciating sound given that neither Aubrey or I felt that the main vocalist could sing! I have her voice on video but have no idea how to upload it at the moment. When I’ve worked it out I’ll try to put a link up.
Finally the groom arrived looking very serious, followed by the bride. We had lent our car as the bridal car. I wondered why they would go for a Land Cruiser but once we saw the hill and condition of road up to the church we understood, especially as it rained after the service.
The bride was then left waiting outside for what seemed like an eternity. The kids were doing well at this stage, they were enjoying sliding around outside on the laterite (red soil, impossible to remove in the wash) ruining all their smart clothes – we even managed to get Isabel into a dress even if we had to put it on in the car when we arrived. Oh well at least they were having fun.
Suddenly it was all go and the congregation suddenly doubled. Obviously the Ghanaians knew of the time delay!
I have absolutely no idea how Ama got into the Church, we saw the choir coming down the aisle but not her – perhaps she was in the middle of them!
In true Ghanaian style it was full of music, joy, audience participation, cheering, whooping, clapping, dancing, swaying, loud preaching and people doing whatever pleased them! There were loud cheers when they said their vows and the couple were followed everywhere by a group of men filming them on their mobiles! Imagine doing that at home!
The Offertory is a big deal here with lots of swaying and singing and dancing down the aisle to a collection box. The kids did itheir bit with Nana (our lovely girl, who also knows Ama through us/Sabre) escorting them through the throng. The friends of the groom put on a good show of shimmying up the ailse with their dark glasses and cool looks, dancing with all the old ladies. It was also great for the kids to just get up and down as they needed, as a lot of people seemed to do. People were coming and going all the time.
The preacher amused everyone in both English and Fante. He told us a woman is like an egg and needs to be handled with care. He also said that the wife was to wear lose clothes in the bedroom, not tight ones. He also warned the groom to watch his wife. I think in Ghana, that should be the other way around!! Far too many errent husbands here. In fact to even live in the same house once married seems to be unusual. The husband usually goes where he can find work leaving the wife back near her family.
I’m so glad we stayed for the whole service, it was a lot of fun but I was slightly relieved when it finished. We had arrived at 10.45 and it finished at 2.15! I was a little hungry and thirsty by then so we decided to leave after the photos (which we were wanted for). It meant leaving the wedding without going to the reception but we had a few fidgety kids by then!
We headed back home to freshen up before going out for a Birthday Pizza. The birthday boy would have to wait until the next day to celebrate properly.
Aubrey listening to the warm up act……..