Thursday, November 15, 2012

Mungi and Alice's Wedding

Last Saturday was a big day for us here in Arusha. It marked the wedding of Reginald Mungi and Alice Shao, two faithful members of the Philips church of Christ. We were all very excited about this as it was the first wedding of church members here.

Reginald and Alice had asked the church to organize the service and for me to officiate (a real honour to me). They wanted their respective families to see more of the church.

There was going to be far more people than could fit into our little building at Philips, so they hired the Arusha Community church building (which is available for such occasion). The wedding was planned to start at 3.00 pm. I was so pleased to see that most of the brethren were there for the start time (getting to services on time is a problem for many). Unfortunately, as the start time drew closer the members were the ONLY ones present. The groom was no where to be seen, neither was the bride OR the other guests!
Reginald (on left) with his grooms men.

At 3.30 the groom, his best man and the little grooms man arrived, but still no other guests. 15 minutes later we heard the sounds of the "brass band" and they arrived behind the brides car - we knew then that things were going to go ahead. The other guests started to arrive and at 4.00 the beautiful bride stepped out of the car and slowly made her way up the stairs towards the building serenaded by the "brass band".

Brother Mbise from the Nkoaranga congregation was the M.C. for the service and did a wonderful job - welcoming the groom and bride in, greeting the parents and leading some wonderful songs. When he started the first song the "brass band" started playing, but Mbise stopped and respectfully asked them not to play. In that building we were almost deafened by the trumpet and trombone and they only got a few notes out! So the singing was a cappella and beautiful.

Preacher Cam.

I was asked to "preach"the wedding, so I gave a short sermon and then we went on the the wedding ceremony. It was a simple affair, the bride looked beautiful and demure, the groom simply glowed with happiness.

After the exchanging of vows and rings the couple, the families and the preacher was "crowned" the something that looked like a necklace. No one could tell me the significance of this.

The couple lead a procession out of the building, again to the accompaniment of the "brass band" and made their way to the car and headed off for photos to be taken. Just after they drove off the sky opened and it pour with rain - perfect timing.

We were told the reception was going to be at 6.30, so noting the lack of promptness for the wedding service we were in no rush to get their "early". We got their on time and found the party was well and truly on it's way. Apparently you are not late to the party - also there were about 300 more people at the reception that did not show at the wedding!

It was a merry time with a lot of speeches (in Swahili) and a lot of laughter. Although we were far away from the proceedings, everything was videotaped and broadcast on screens, so we didn't miss out on anything.

The "wedding cake" was made of about 8 separate cakes and important groups were asked to come up for a cake for that group. Anne and I were asked to come up to receive the cake for the church (we shared in it on Sunday, after services).

Then came the giving of gifts. Everyone with a gift was invited to come up front to give to the couple. So we went in a processions up with music playing loud. After we had given the gifts then the precision made its way to the buffet - gift giving, then you got fed!

We stayed till about 9.30 while the party was still on its way, but as we left the rain started bucketing down. I only hope the marques everyone was sitting under held up to it all.

We have been lucky enough to have Duane Cutter and Scott Everett staying with us and they were able to enjoy this happy occasion with us.

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