My best friend in Makalondi is named Gninley K. I had the honor of being her only bridesmaid and it was a blast! I was able to get back to Makalondi a few days before the wedding and jump in with both feet to help Gninley out!
For starters, she did not plan the wedding, it was her fiance who was in charge of that... Like I said - a wedding like none I've ever been to :) The wedding was on Saturday - so her extended family started coming on Thursday. Imagine some 50 adults related to you, come to your wedding, but they stay with you! There were people everywhere!! I knew a lot of her family from other events and staying with them in their village last year, so that was great to see them again! :)
I got to Maka on Wednesday and spent a few hours hanging out and getting the run down on the next few days. Her fiance, Yamindieba, brought over his suitcase full of presents for her too. Thursday was Henna day for me, and hair day for Gninley :) So I will begin in detail with Friday morning as that is when the festivities fully kicked off!
|Auntie F is on the right :)|
I headed over to the K family compound early in the morning to find my friend sitting outside her compound and everyone else gathered together inside the yard! I was like hey what's going on? Well, it turns out that when family gift -giving time comes, she is not allowed to be there! They give all the gifts to her parents who write it all down. She said I could go over, but I opted to keep her company. Once it was over we could go check out some of what people gave. Most people gave cooking wares or fabric.
We spent most of the day inside their hut hanging out. Auntie F worked on her nails and skin for hours! She was hysterical and we had a great time giving Gninley cucumber treatments etc...
From time to time I would scoot out to see her mom and how things were going outside. The cooking that was going on outside was unbelievable!
Could you imagine cooking OVER A FIRE for dozens and dozens of people?! We had lots of noodles/rice and sauce :)
At about 7pm, Auntie F realized that no one had made a cake! She was so sad because they had no oven so she thought it was too late - but I did have an oven so off we went...
But umm for those of you who know me, you know that baking is not exactly my thing :) So let's just say all I had was sugar... and an oven :) But Joy thankfully had all the other ingredients to make a little chocolate cake for the bride and groom :) So with flashlights in hand we made a cake :)
Meanwhile, some of the boys in the K family worked on getting a little generator set up so that there was a lightbulb hanging from a tree to help out with all the cooking chaos that was taking place! It took truly a couple hours, but they were eventually successful!
Well the choir was supposed to have gotten in around 4 so that we could do the rehearsal before it got dark. They arrived at about 830 :) So after eating dinner and I'm not sure what else, we eventually started the rehearsal at midnight! Most of you can attest to the fact that I have no sense of rhythm... or coordination when it comes to dancing...
But somehow I was supposed to lead the whole group in at the front of the dance line... Yikes!
Well normally I have no rhythm, but at 1230am - I can guarantee you I really have none! The choir guys kept trying to show me the crazy steps and when i move and on what beats... unsuccessfully I assure you. "Be more supple!" "Take smaller steps" "Keep moving!" "Just move with the beat - its not hard!" Ahem... What time is it again? Poor Gninley was like Beki I can't follow you! I was thinking I know! I am sorry! So after a while I finally got it down and we decided that in the parts where there is just music and no singing, I couldn't figure out the beat so we just had to dance in place till they started the song up again :) (Keep all this in mind for the next day)
Once we finally finished, the four girls in the choir came back to my place for the night. We got a few hours of sleep at least before the early morning wedding activities began again! 7am here we come!
Ok friends, you know that I loved this friend, but my bridesmaid dress, was.. well... ahem.
Yes. I love my friend - and I was thankful there was no mirror :) I wore that custom made dress like a champ, figuring I stand out as the white girl anyway :) My mom had sent Gninley's wedding dress out and made a veil to match! She looked gorgeous :) Someone had given my mom a dress that was perfect for Gninley - right down to the sleeves :) I think everyone who gets married in her family from here out will be wearing that dress :)
The wedding was supposed to start at 10.. so of course at 930 I am chilling taking a nap with Gninley and we are certainly not even dressed yet :) Gotta love it :) Once getting her hair fixed up and her dress on, we found out the the groom and best man hadn't even showered yet! :) Eventually we made it to the church (about 11am). Yay! Time to start the actual wedding! So we all walk over together and wait at the back for our songs to start. Well contrary to the rehearsal, the boys song starts first so they scoot by us and go on in. Then one of the aunts tells me that she is going to help me dance down the isle :) She was there the night before... So she steps in front of me and talks off when the song starts - but hold up - WHAT is she doing!? I have no idea what dance steps she is doing but it is nothing like we practiced the night before! Gninley whispers to me to just follow the aunt.. ahem yeah or not... I felt like a penguin kinda waddling and stepping all over my own feet trying to figure out what she was doing! Haha what a disaster... :) I was glad that was over!
Well the couple was supposed to sit (yes sit) on the front couch then the best man and I each had big chairs behind them.. well it was so packed there was no place for any of us to sit! So we moved some people, but as if I didn't stand out enough, we ended up pushing the two chairs together and I had to sit up on the armrests! I eventually did get to move down into the chair... :) Hmmm where's the white girl? :)
Once it was all over - we went outside and greeted lots of people! Then we led the couple back over to another compound where we sat under a millet mat hanger on the same couches. Lots of people came through to give their congratulations! We had a great time - ate all kinds of interesting things too :)
|A couple of friends came to celebrate with us too!|
|Joy n Gary with Gninley's parents|
One side note about weddings here, is that there is a specific cloth that is chosen for the wedding - so most people who come buy that cloth so that everyone is wearing the same thing that day (all unique styles of course though). So finally Gninley, the boys and I got to change into it! I really liked it! She had ours made in basically the same pattern - it turned out awesome!
We had cake and more pictures... and more sitting and greeting :) By the time dinner was ready - I was ready to slip out for a few. I saw that it was the intestines and goat head cooking, and then KNEW it was time to slip out for a few! So I excused myself to go clean up a little, but they all insisted one of the girls come with me so I wouldn't be alone! They were trying to be thoughtful :) I did manage to slip into Joy and Gary's for a few and gratefully eat a piece of homemade pizza before returning.
Gninley, some of the girls, and I ended up hanging out under the stars talking until about 9pm or so. Then all the women in her family came over so that we could take her to their new home.
|Moving stuff to their new home!|
Needless to say - we were all exhausted - but it was wonderful! I went over to her place the next morning to say goodbye, promising to return soon with all of the pictures :) I love my life and will always be glad to spend time in Makalondi!