Joe and Grace’s Wedding – The bride’s house

After much preparation, the morning of April 21st arrived, and I woke up at 5am to get on a very wet motorbike to Buruburu – to Grace’s house.  After much getting lost, I finally got to Grace’s house, and was led into the kitchen to a huddle of women.  “Gabi, here’s your cup of tea, there are the sausages.  Fill your belly well!”  Grace’s mum told me.  I found myself standing, cup of tea in hand, nibbling sausages, surrounded by ladies in hairnets.

Soon enough the make-up lady arrived, so it was on with the bridesmaid dress and I plonked down in front of the lady.  “Ah yes, they told me there was a white one.. but you’re not so white, it’s fine.”  And she set to work on my face.  When we was done, I was thrust into the seat of the hairdresser, who after about 20 minutes of attempting to curl my hair (good luck), declared that I was finished and she’s just going to spray some oil onto my hair.  “Some what??” “Oil, oil spray – don’t you use it??” “Not usually, no…”  But on went the oil spray, and after all that I found my hair looking much the same as half an hour before, but a good deal stickier.  Anyway, all that is irrelevant, because it was the bride we all wanted to see.

However, as it should be, the bride was going to keep the groom waiting, until she looked just perfect.  In the meantime, I sat stunned, peeping out of the window, while a huge crowd gathered in front of the house, screaming, singing, clapping, and chanting.  Asking what they were all doing, I was told “they’re calling for the bride.”  It was quite something.  Half an hour late for leaving already, the bride was finally ready and all the bridesmaids were summoned to her room.  Suddenly, a lady with a very loud voice started singing… and the bridesmaids united started clapping, dancing, and singing along.  Oh dear.  This, I hadn’t been informed of.  But duty calling, I did my best to join in, despite not having the foggiest about what was going on.  Seeing my confusion, co-maid Gloria came to my rescue – “you haven’t been to a Kamba wedding before have you?” …No.  “We’re singing that the bride is coming, they’re traditional wedding songs.”

We then danced and paraded down the staircase and into the living room, to be met by a big group of singing relatives.  The procession stopped by the front door.  “Now, we have to bargain over the bride”  Gloria whispered.  After much singing, shouting, and arguing through a closed front door.. finally the door was opened and a big suitcase was handed over to the best man.  Colourful cloths were laid over the doorstep and porch, and the bride was escorted from her parents’ house…  once again, to much screaming and singing.  We danced along behind her, and all got into the incredible limousine waiting for us on the street.  The crowd swelled, and screamed, and sang, and we were on our way to the wedding.

What a start.

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