Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Wedding Invitation

On Saturday, Paul and I are going to a wedding in a Burunge village. The sister of our co-worker, Magdalena, is getting married, and we were invited.

Wedding invitations work a little differently here in Tanzania than they do in the United States. If you receive one and plan to attend, along with your reply, you are expected to give a donation. For this particular wedding, the invitation states that a couple should donate 15,000 shillings (approx. $11 US) and a single person should donate 10,000 shillings (approx. $7 US).

Unlike weddings in the United States, the bride's family does not pay for the event. After the wedding cost is determined by the families involved, it is the couples responsibility to raise the funds, hence the donations. Family, friends, acquaintances, and even friends of friends (which is us in this case) might all receive invitations.

I'm looking forward to the wedding, but I'm also a little nervous too. It will likely be a full day of speaking Swahili, which still isn't the easiest thing for me, especially when I'm feeling nervous and unsure of myself. Also, I might be separated from my safety net (a.k.a. Paul) for much of the day. In Tanzania, and especially in village settings, men and women are often seated separately and participate in different portions of the event. It will probably be one of those times when I have to push myself out there and try while doing my best not to worry about messing up.

On the other hand, I'm excited because this will be my first opportunity to see a Burunge village and it will be my first time to attend a wedding in this culture. It will be interesting to learn more about how these events work. I'm also looking forward to hearing Burunge spoken by a larger audience.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Update: Well, I can't let you know how the wedding went, because at the end of the week, Paul hurt his neck and Josiah had a virus, so we were unable to go. We were disappointed to miss out on the experience, but surely another opportunity will arise in the future.

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