It's been a busy week. Last Friday Rose, a colleague of mine at school, got married, and the wedding lasted for two days! I went to the first day of celebrations, the traditional Igbo ceremony. The next day, they did the white wedding in the church , but I have already seen plenty of those back home ( !) and I had other plans at the weekend with a friend who was visiting. Perhaps the most interesting part of the wedding was the fact that the actual ceremony didn't take place until 7 30 pm even though it was scheduled to start at 2pm. Now that's a delay even by Nigerian standards! I arrived at 4 30pm anticipating a late start as everything runs on "Nigerian time" over here but there were still another 3 hours to go before we saw the bride and groom and the canopy was only just under construction. Still, most of the guests had arrived and the loud speaker was blaring out the music for us all to enjoy, including the surrounding neighbourhood as the wedding was being held by the roadside. ( as there was no room in the flat to house all the guests) So there was plenty going on. In fact we were all given our meals before the bridal party arrived and many guests even left before the ceremony began , once they had eaten and drank enough, which was probably a good job as there wouldn't have been enough chairs for everyone otherwise! Apparently the reason they took so long was that the bride and the groom's families were busy negotiating her bride price, which is still very important over here and is taken very seriously. Families turn up with a list of required items in order to hand over their daughter to another man's family and unless there is agreement, the wedding can't take place. I couldn't help thinking that this kind of heavy negotiation could have been pencilled in for a date preceeding the actual wedding day, but that's just how it's done here. Just a shame many of the guests actually missed the ceremony.
Once the proceedings got underway though, it became more interesting. I liked the fact that not only did the bride have to feed the groom their first food and drink as husband and wife, but also that the groom had to do the same for his wife! There was lots of dancing involved too which I had a good go at!
The other pics show the school trip to the polo field in Jos as I tracked down a contact there who was very kind in organising for some of our physically disabled kids to have a free horse riding session. I was somewhat nervous when i tried to put one of the bravest children, Judith, on the horse as the first one, only to find she started to scream and kick and didn't want to go near ! But after a few more minutes of stroking the horse she calmed down, and once I tried with another little girl Simmi, who was a bit nervous but happy to sit with me , Judith was desperate to climb on. In the end , most of them loved it and it was so rewarding to see their happy smiling faces. I want to try to make it a more regular thing, for their families to take them riding, as "riding for the disabled" is quite a popular thing back in the UK and it helps lots of children learn to balance and gain confidence.
So I hope this will be the first of many visits!