Just before Joel returned we had a wedding at our church. It has been a few years since the last wedding so it was a big affair. It was also an important event for me as I felt like I was an active participator in the preparations with the women of our church for the first time. It has come after a year of watching, observing and taking baby steps in participation. It was a crazy time as we were on the end of 3 longs weeks of Joel being gone, but it was also an encouraging time in so many ways.
Here is a little about my experience (with Joel gone there are no pictures to share, so my words will have to be enough :)):
- All the women met at church. We divided into two groups. One group made the 3 different types of juice for the wedding and the other cleaned the chickens. I was in the second group.
- We started with 20 chickens that needed have the feathers stripped off of them and the insides removed. It was honestly my first time to do this on my own. I was much slower as I only did 2 chickens in the time the others did 4, but I was proud that I successfully did it.
- We then cleaned the feet off and they all argued about who was going to get the privilege of eating them. A compromise was made that that would be made into a soup for us all to eat later…gulp!
- We then cut the chickens up, cleaned them, prepared a marinade and steamed them over a boiling pot of water
- We ended the night with eating the soup, before we parted ways to go home.
- Saturday morning we meet again with a much smaller group of women.
- Now we had two whole pigs to cut up, clean and marinade. The youth were going to grill it later that afternoon, assuming they showed up which was a worry until we saw their smiling faces appear.
- After that we fried, re marinaded and grilled the chicken that we had cooked the night before
- Then all the stuff was loaded up into my car to be brought to the wedding
- The ceremony of the wedding was at our church, which was too small and so we ended up being outside not really able to see or hear much.
- The women all left early to prepare the reception.
- My car didn’t want to start. Thankfully, these types of things don’t even phase the ladies of our church. They calmly got out and called someone over to look at it. After we push started the car, we were off and running again.
- For the reception we were in a kitchen the size of a hallway with 20 women all playing one role or another in making the reception happen.
- The power went out and darkness hits. Everyone reaches for their phones and turns on their cellphone flashlights and we are back in business. Cheers of joy rang in the air when the power came back on 30 minutes later.
- It was chaos, but it was chaos that ended up working. Everyone ate and drank. It was considered by all a success.
- After the food was served. All the women gathered and we presented the gift we had bought, took a picture with the bride and groom and of course danced with them a little to show our support of their marriage.
- It was now past 10 and my husband who was traveling had finally returned home. So I stepped out early from a party that I am sure when at least until 11. I got my car push started again and went home.
IT WAS WORTH IT
This year of our life has been dedicated to culture. I often felt like a child relearning how to live, but moments like this remind me that it is worth it. Now I don’t have to stand in the back and watch, I can participate in life. Each time I learn and experience so much more and get to see the next layer of life and culture here. The opportunities and relationships it opens up makes it worth every minute of humiliation, pain and frustration. Now if I can just remind myself that the next time I feel frustrated!