Friday, 17 March 2017

VILLAGE WEDDING? FEASTING WAS AND STILL IS A MUST

EDWIN KIPTANUI CHIRCHIR edchirchir@yahoo.com edchirchir85@gmail.com

 Food, Grilled, Chicken, Spicy

PHOTO CREDIT: PIXABAY
 
I was young and innocent, but there was something I knew. I knew that a wedding in the village was supposed to be a time of feasting. A time to take three plates of pilau and three bottles of soda in quick succession, even if it meant constipating the following day.

Constipation was not a big problem because we knew it could be easily sorted out using Andrews (a digestive salt), which worked just like Eno. You were just required to empty the contents in the  sachet into a glass of clean water and drink the mixture as fast as possible, before the bubbles died down.

A good wedding was synonymous with the amount of food and drinks one engaged in. Woe unto you, if your wedding was to be said to be lacking in the food department. You would  remain the laughing stock of your village and nearby villages for generations to come. Your name would be incorporated in proverbs and traditional songs. A dance move might even be named after you. Cheap fame huh!

To pull off a good wedding, which was to remain in people's lips for eternity, animals had to die, beginning with goats, cows, sheep and a respectable number of hens. No one gave a hoot as to how special the wedding gown was, whether it was imported or how much it had cost. That was left to the urban folk to fuss about. Food and I mean food was the standard (or benchmark for NGO fellows and MCA's). Special food had to be cooked and to lead the pack was 'Pilau' and 'Chapati'

People had to eat. In fact, the food had to trickle down to every member of the families in you village and nearby villages and the leftovers had to get to the rightful owners (read dogs and cats). Yes! the domestic animals (not all) had to eat to their fill, regardless of whether they could comprehend the term 'wedding' or not.  In other words, a statement had to be made across the animal kingdom and that could only happen if everyone was well fed. Now, let me make a statement which I think is intelligent and might be quoted in future books and proverbs, "In terms of making the animal kingdom happy, especially as far as feasting is concerned, it seems the herbivores had to die, in order to make omnivores and carnivores happy, which I think is extremely unfair" end of quote. Now, let me bask in the glory of that statement as I wait to be famous he! he!

In the village(rural setup, if you work for an NGO), you do not impose nonsense rules such as 'Invite only' affair because such rules only work in Karen and Muthaiga. Back in the village, a wedding is a communal affair. In fact you do not invite individuals, unless they are larger than life. People who go by titles such as 'Muthamaki' 'Laitoriat' and 'Sultan' Instead you invite families and churches, so that everyone could attend without restrictions.

And then there was the cake cutting adventure. To lead in this adventure was some elderly woman who was experienced in family matters. She would exaggerate a lot of things, for example she would say:

"This cake is the 'Ugali' which Jepkosgei has prepared for us, but before feeding us she is going to feed her husband Kipsang."

Kipsang then opens his mouth wide and Jepkosgei does the feeding as people laugh, half embarassed and half excited, because they are not used to public display of affection.

Back to the woman, "Now Jepkosgei and Kipsang will feed the guests, to show us how generous they will be in future."

As that statement comes out of her mouth, people would stand in strategic positions to get a share of the cake. The only problem is that sometimes the brides maids would assist in distributing the cake and that is where people including yours truly get pissed off. The maids would be shy little things, hence not confident enough to walk as far as possible with those pieces of cakes, hence most people would miss the cake.

The cake may not touch everyone's lips, but at least, it had to be displayed for people to marvel and oggle at it, but it was extremely important for the cake to enter the mouths of important and influential members of the society, for example, Pastors, MCA's, Chief, Assistant chief and church elders, otherwise your wedding may not get the necessary approval.

Most of our conversations as children, after the wedding consisted of:

"How many bottles of soda did you take?" Johnny asks, struggling to breath, because his protruding belly was too full.

"Two bottles." I would reply, also struggling to breath, but happy.

"Only two? Imagine I took four bottles!" Johnny Interjects.

"But at least I took three plates of Pilau and ate the cake." I fight back.

"O hooooo! I also took three plates, the only thing I missed is the cake." This from Johnny.

By this time, I want to cry because I am wondering, 'How the hell did I take only two bottles of soda?'

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