Wednesday, January 03, 2007

4 weddings

On the Saturday before Christmas, we went to a wedding in Kigali, the sister of a friend. As we expected, things were a bit chaotic when we got to the bride’s house – everyone was running late and “this church respects time”. Eventually, two flower-covered cars appeared and to our surprise the bride and groom both emerged, along with 4 bridesmaids and groomsmen.
We arrived at the church about 10 minutes late. It could easily have seated 2000 people but actually had about 300 guests. There was no sign of rush there and the couple were already seated on the stage at the front. A few minutes after taking our seats we discovered that another couple was expected, so (as usual here) our rushing had been unnecessary.
Waiting was made easier by the excellent band, who sang with a jazz style and even had some familiar songs in English. The second couple arrived just before 2 o’clock, at which point we discovered that we were waiting for yet another couple! However, this last wedding party was coming from Gisenyi, a couple of hours’ drive away, so a quorum was declared and the event began.
We had a highly dramatic sermon for half an hour and then vows, when suddenly the proceedings were interrupted by a brass band at the door of the church. The third groom was an army officer and he had brought appropriate music to signal the arrival of him and his bride. There were some lovely touches to the proceedings : the prayers for the newly-weds, the holding up of hands. There were of course also some very odd things to our eyes – the complete lack of any smiles from the newly-weds and the scrum of photographers (complete with floodlight) which was allowed very close during most of the ceremony.

The fourth wedding will be in July – Clare phoned during the service to announce to our delight but not surprise that she had got engaged.

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