5:20 am Time to decorate the “limo”
6:30ish Finished product!
7:00 Time to pick up Benoit (CEFA Ag director) & Laurentine who actually have been living as husband and wife for 34 years, ala village
7:05 Find out the pastor/speaker is in hospital
8:15 On the road to the meeting hall for the civil service 10 + motorcycles, 3 trucks and 2 cars
9:45ish The mayor finally arrives and after marrying one couple on their own, decides to marry all of them all at once. Included in his questions was “will you stay married to this person EVEN IF they are jobless, bedridden, adulterous…” Not quite the funny one from last time: “if she’s old and ugly and peeing all over herself…”
Amidst confetti and perfume spraying and white puff spray I still don’t know what it was, there was CELEBRATION! At least half of these couples have grandchildren and when they were asked to say “I do”, the women were addressed as “Miss”; it is a new rule within the local Baptist church that leaders and pastors should actually hold a public and a church marriage license.
12 noon-ish We proceeded to the local church for the religious ceremony
1:15 ish The Sub-Governor of the region finally arrived and the 11 couples were married again, this time receiving a blessing while kneeling and then exchanging rings
3:00ish Back into the vehicles and up the hill to the mission, to the “receptions” of two of the three couples. Sitting, waiting, following formal protocol with dignitaries, eating, drinking, people-watching, visiting, laughing, a long fun day. Only a couple of the couples held hands or even touched each other, except for the part where we are used to hearing “kiss the bride” and what they do here is greet each other – right hand clasping right hand, maybe the left hand on the shoulder, a buss on the left and two busses (air kisses or cheek bumps) on the right and you’re done!
Monsieur & Madame ZANGAO DILA-SINEBET
6:00pm back home to breathe and relax