Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Wedding fundraising

I got to witness an interesting Ugandan phenomenon last night. I was waiting with my hosts for the daily, evening, horrendously-bad traffic jam to dissipate a little so we could actually drive home and we happened to be at the National Theater in Kampala. They mentioned that there was a nice crafts market inside so we wandered around "window" shopping a little. eventually we made our way around the building and there was a group of people having a meeting in one of the rooms. It turns out that Harrison and Audrey knew some of them so we went in. I soon found out that what was going on was a meeting for a couples future wedding. Weddings in Uganda - like those in the U.S. are expensive and almost no one can pay out of pocket for all the expenses, so they hold fund raising meetings with friends and family in order to have enough money to pay - and yes, these same people who give at these meetings are expected to bring a gift on the day of the wedding too.

This meeting was in the form of an auction, the likes of which I have never seen before, but along with the sandwich maker on auction, people were bidding to try to make others in the room do silly things. Sing the national anthem, dance while the other was singing, sit on someone else's lap, get the mazunga(white person) to sit next to the other mazunga(there happened to be a Japanese guy sitting at the back). So none of these things actually happened because others would bid to cancel previous motions. Another motion involving myself involved the "chairman" buying a bag of fried grasshoppers from a vendor passing by, for the mazunga - Becca, and for Becca to eat said grasshoppers, or at least one. I pulled the vegetarian card because I didn't want my first time knowingly eating a prepared insect to be in front of a crowd - hooting and hollering. Later I told my hosts that I'd try it some other time, when the audience was smaller.