Ubukwe: the wedding

As my current motto is saying ‘yes’ to as many things as possible, I found myself attending a country side wedding this weekend. Little did I know that I’d end up in the middle of a field, 30 minutes away from any ‘formal’ roads, next to the Ugandan border.

So, how did the wedding compare to the English and Estonian weddings that I’ve attended?

  • God: As I’ve mentioned before, Rwanda is a very religious country and God and prayer were ever present in the wedding. The bride entered the church whilst the choir was singing songs glorifying Jesus Christ. The sermon was administered by the local pastor, passages were read from the bible and the couple was blessed in the presence of God
  • Kissing: Contrary to the kissfest of a traditional Estonian wedding, there were no overt signs of affection displayed throughout the wedding. The couple hugged when exchanging rings and held hands during the reception but that was it. Although it was clear the two loved each other deeply and were so so happy!
  • Guest list: The guest list has been the pain of every married couple I know. Not in Rwanda… The more the merrier! In fact, thanks to us being in the middle of the country side, pretty much the whole village of the groom could attend the wedding. As I sat in the middle of the field, an old Estonian song was playing in my head ‘Terve vald oli kokku aetud, kihelkond kokku kutsutud!’
  • Food: Far from a fancy three course sit down dinner, the Rwandan wedding was a true country feast. You grab a plate and the buffet serves you rice, potatoes, banana mash, cassava, one piece of meat (I asked for two and won the battle!),sauce and a soda (no alcohol was served in the wedding). You then find an empty plastic chair somewhere in the shade and try your best not to spill the food on yourself.
  • Entertainment: We had two MCs for the night, cracking jokes in Kinyarwanda so I have no idea what they were talking about, but people were laughing so I assume they were doing a good job. There was also traditional Rwandan dances and songs of prayer by a local choir. As the sun was setting in the middle of the field, this made a beautiful scene of serenity!

As we were three and a half hours away from Kigali we left straight after presenting our gifts to the couple (a stereo and DVD player from the whole Urwego crew). But I know the wedding went on for hours with a long list of guests presenting their gifts, accompanied by well wishes and long speeches.

I am so grateful to Urwego for making me part of their family and inviting me to attend this wedding… And I wish all the best to the newlyweds!


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