Friday, December 09, 2005

Weddings, beer and dangerous driving!

This week has also been a bit of an emotional rollarcoaster what with the events going on at home and the fact that I can't be there but everyone here has been trying to keep me occupied. This being the case, I headed off with the Principal last Sunday for the day to Tokombere, a village north of Maroua, about 2 hours drive from Moutourwa, where he spent 5 years as Principal before coming to Moutourwa. We set off at 7am which I thought was rather early for a general visit of a village until I found out when I got in the car that we were actually attending a wedding of one of the Principal's friends from the village. All very well apart from the fact that I was hardly dressed for the occasion in my jeans! On arrival though I realised that this wasn't really a problem as dress code ranged from suit and tie (how they did it in 40 degree heat I don't know) to tracksuit bottoms and bare feet for the poorer sections of the community.

It was such a privilege to actually be able to attend the wedding and see how a chiristan ceremony is celebrated over here. Suffice to say it's a bit different from back home! The Church itself was outdoors, the altar was made of stone with a stone bench for the priest and his entourage to sit on whilst the congregation sat on stones that had been placed in rows and embedded into the ground. Very quaint. Invitations aren't required and the whole of the village was there to celebrate with the bride and groom. Traditional hymns aren't the order of the day, but instead drums, singing and lots of dancing at every possible moment was more apt. It's certainly true that people know how to celebrate here and after the ceremony (which lasted 3 hours and involved numerous dancing processions around the happy couple!) big bowls of fufu corn and meat emerged along with buckets of the traditional 'bil bil' wine. On occassions such as this, unbeknown to me, protocol is nowhere to be found and everyone just crowds round the nearest bowl to them and dives in. This being the case, before I knew where I was all the food had been whoffed down by the children that had strategically positioned themsemves near the food. What was really nice about the ceremony was that it was open to everyone in the village and everyone was invited to share the food and wine. The official recpetion, as I found out after, was being held in the evening and only close friends and family would be attending. Considering it was a Sunday, the Principal and I said that we couldn't stay as we had to gat back for school the next day. This didn't go down too well with everyone there and they resolved to make us stay as long as possible which basically involved suppplying us with a constant supply of beers!

Four beers later and no food all by 3pm in the afternoon and I was beginning to feel the effects to say the least. We took a short break from the drinking to have a wander round the village and visit the Principal's old school before hitting another bar. As the day was drawing to a close , I was beginning to get a bit anxious that our planned departure before sunset would not materialise. Normally such things would not bother me, however the Principal had expressly said that we needed to leave before night fall as the road into the village was so bad with pot holes etc and he didn't know the road well enough to navigate in the dark!

Another two beers, the sun long gone and we are still there chatting away with the other guests. Half seven and we finally come to the conclusion that it might be a good idea to think about setting off. Well, I'm not too sure how we managed to navigate round the potholes but at one stage as the car narrowly avoided falling sideways into a big valley of a ditch, I began to have visions of me sleeping there until someone rescued us at sun rise!

All in all it was a really nice day. My sis is coming over in a few weeks and the Principal has promised to take us on a trip back up to Tokombere so I can take some photos (silly me forgot the blimin camera!) and this time we'll stay over so as to avoid any potential death traps that manifest themselves at sunset!


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