About a month ago I was invited to be on a wedding planning committee for my landlords. I was a little surprised by this invitation because 1) I have no idea how to plan a Tanzanian wedding, and 2) I thought my landlords were already married as they told us they were and they have four children the oldest of which is fourteen. Turns out they are legally married, they just never had a ceremony. It's pretty common practice here to get married and then have the big ceremony and reception later when you have more money. It just seemed odd for my landlords because they're quite wealthy and I assumed they had the ceremony a long time ago. I guess they just got busy making all that money and forgot.
Anyway, they're getting married next Saturday and I have now been to two committee meetings. I had no idea what to expect being a wedding planner. I was nervous I would end up organizing food for 500 people or somehow accidently volunteer to pay for the whole thing. I went in thinking I would offer to make the wedding cake, as I have more baking experience than all the Tanzanian women in Geita combined. I was afraid the meetings would last for hours and hours and this would be my life for a month. Turns out I had nothing to worry about. Nearly every woman in our neighborhood and some others as well (approximately forty or fifty) were invited to join the committee. We all came to the meeting and introduced ourselves and then we ate peanuts and drank coke while listening to the music they were planning on using at the reception. (I was forced to dance a little bit by myself in front of all these women -- who doesn't want to laugh at an uncoordinated foreigner?) We each gave 5,000 shillings (about $3.50) to go towards a wedding gift and matching outfits for the mothers of the bride and groom. We had a prayer and planned the date and time for the next meeting and after two hours, we went home.
It's important in Tanzania to be a part of the community. So while my landlord had no desire for fifty women to plan her wedding, it was necessary to invite them all so they wouldn't feel left out. It would have been terribly rude to act as if she didn't need or want all the opinions and help of her neighbors, especially the older women. The meetings are basically little parties and in reality, a small group of about five of her closest friends are doing the bulk of the plans and preparations. The only thing I'm in charge of is getting the wedding dress and groom's suit cleaned properly. My teammate Alicia is in charge of picking out the fabric for the mothers' outfits and the dinnerware that the group decided would be our present to the bride.
It's actually been a fun experience. I've gotten to know my neighbors better and I believe have solidified my place in our little community just a little bit more. Friday night is the bachelorette party (more peanuts and cokes and probably very loud music) and Saturday is the wedding. It'll be the first wedding in Tanzania I'll have been to and our entire family is attending. I'm sure there will be a blog about it.
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
This year Brett went to the village for Easter without the rest of us since Harper hasn't had her vaccinations yet. He spent two days preaching, eating, and listening to special Easter choirs, while we did fun things at home. Holidays are becoming more enjoyable as Baylor gets older. She's able to do and enjoy the fun parts. Such as dying Easter eggs. She didn't get nearly as messy as I thought she would and she had a great time.
We decided to delay our family Easter time until Brett got home that night, so after dinner and our nightly Bible story and prayer time, Baylor got to experience her first Easter basket. Since we'd had the egg hunt a few days before, she knew what was in those eggs and could barely contain her excitement. She kept asking for eggs for days after and was severely disappointed when I would offer her just the regular kind.
I tried really hard to get good pictures of the girls in their dresses, but it didn't go quite as I had planned. Baylor was not a particularly obliging participant, Harper kept falling over, and my camera apparently had a smudge on the lens. But nonetheless, we came out with a few that were ok, so hopefully the grandparents will be happy:)
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Since Easter is the biggest holiday of the year here in Geita, our team decided to have our own celebration on Good Friday, as we knew most of us would be working on Easter Sunday. We had worship together and good food, followed by an egg hunt for the kids. Fortunate for the crops, but unfortunate for the hunt, the rain was pouring down so we moved the fun inside. We hid eggs filled with candy, bouncy balls, stickers, necklaces, and other goodies; it was quite fun, even for the big kids, who Brett taunted by hiding some of the eggs in ridiculous places.
Harper even participated by hiding one of the eggs in her pants.
Saturday, April 7, 2012
We are so fortunate to have Harper in our family. She's so laid back; she almost never cries and is generally just content no matter what. Her current favorite hobbies include sucking on the pacifier and shoving her hand in her mouth when she's not sucking on the pacifier. She also likes smiling and sleeping. She's been starting to sleep through the night some nights, which makes me a much happier person. Of course, she's never woken up more than once during the night to eat since she was born, so I can't complain.
She's so different than Baylor was. Baylor was on the go the minute she born, able to hold her own weight on her legs and hold her head up. Some might describe Harper as a little bit lazy, preferring to just not bother with moving much. She'd generally rather let someone else do the work of holding her up, though her head control has been improving a bit lately. We all love her so much. The first thing Baylor says in the morning is "I want to see my baby Harper right now!"
Monday, April 2, 2012
Lately Baylor has been on a meat kick. She is definitely her father's daughter. The above picture is of her chowing down on some beef jerky that someone sent from the States. It goes nicely with her pretty dress, don't you think?
We were recently at an event where the main course was grilled chicken and goat. After ripping her way though a drumstick, Baylor set in on the goat. She ate more than I did. A lot more. I had no idea a two year old could consume so much animal in one sitting. At one point, Brittney picked up her plate to move it a little and Baylor yelled, "No, B! Don't take my meat!"
Yesterday I asked her what she wanted for a snack.
"I want meat. I want meat! I want meeeeeeeeeat!"