Apr 9, 2010

An African Wedding

So, valiantly trying to stay up for Top Chef Masters, which aired from 11-midnight(eek!) Wednesday night, I caught up with a mindless guilty pleasure- Jessica Simpson's The Price of Beauty (I know. . .)  Anyway, she and her cohorts visited Uganda (which along with Kenya makes up East Africa.  OK, I just said that and realized I totally made that up, I'll get back to you on the verification of that geography).

The particular tribe they visited fattens their women up, as it's a sign of wealth and status to have a fat wife.  The fattening takes discipline, as you sit as motionless as possible in a hut for two months drinking milk.  To Jessica, this was completely foreign, as she is part of culture where all discipline is focused towards thinness.

One weekend when I returned from a weekend jaunt to Zanzibar with my 3 far-flung volunteer friends, my Tanzanian Mama said to me "Oh, you have gained weight!  I can tell!  You are getting fat, my daughter!"

Yeah- that made me feel great.  However, she meant it as a compliment, and proclaimed that I was fat with pride for it meant she was taking good care of me.  Still- a hard cultural difference to swallow when you're twenty-two.

So Jessica, Casey and Ken got to go to a wedding.  I stopped watching at this point, because it was finally time for my Top Chef Masters hotties.  However, I was instantly brought back to the wedding I went to in Tanzania.  I wish I had more pictures of this kind of thing, but I was trying very hard to not be a mzungu, and draw as little attention to myself as possible- trying being the operative word. 

Let me set the reception scene for y'all-  orange and pink and white tissue paper decorating every surface of the big meeting area.  On top of the dais was two large white throne-like chairs for the bride and the groom.  In front of the chairs was a dead goat on a spit, hooves dangling in the breeze, head lolling to the side.  Interesting.  Of course, I had a dead pig at my wedding, so looking back I can't say too much!

There was an MC on  a mike narrating the entire ceremony.  This was not uncommon- I also went to a fancy birthday party, and an anniversary party with MC's, which was pretty hilarious in all honesty.  I was kind of zoning in and out, which was my tendency when confronted with long uninterrupted quickly spoken Swahili. 

All the sudden something grabbed my attention.  The word mzungu.  I quickly glanced around, praying that another white person was magically in the crowd, and he wasn't referring to me.  Nope.  Then he starts speaking in English.  This is problematic.  Apparently, having traveled the farthest (Tennessee to Tanzania) to attend the wedding, I am now the guest of honor.  Shit.  I have never seen these people before in my life, now I'm their guest of honor? Then I see them to start to hack into the goat.  Double shit.

Tomato-faced, I have to tentatively make my way through the crowd to the bride and groom.  I unsurely hug and kiss them in the manner my Mama hurriedly whispered to me, beaming with pride (she was a bit of an attention lover, to say the least).  Then, a piece of the goat is hacked off, and fed to me by the bride via a toothpick.  Everyone watched expectantly as I blushedly chewed, and smiled, and chewed, and tried not to grimace, and chewed, and chewed.  That goat was cooked til it couldn't cook no more.  Good thing I'm not a picky eater.



  1. Wow, that's certainly an experience you will never forget!

  2. I actually love goat. An old friend of mine's father is Indian and throws the most delicious goat curry parties for all of us when we're home for the holidays.

    I also LOVE these stories of yours!

  3. holy shit. that is CRAZY. wow. lol

  4. You have the best stories about your time in Africa!!

  5. What a cool experience you must have had while in Africa! I have the JSimps episode DVRed so I'll have to watch it.


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