It is hard to really describe life in Uganda sometimes. A few words might be friendly, slow (we call this African time), relationship focused, last minute and definitely random. It is the daily random events that are hard to fully explain and over time, despite the intensity of the randomness, events happen and you are not thrown off guard or really all that surprised. Where most people would say, “I can’t believe this happened!” or “I can’t believe I saw this or that!”, here it is more of “I can’t believe this, but actually, I kinda can. This is Africa.” TIA
So today was a full day. We celebrated the wedding of one of our teachers at Lulwanda Primary School. After the wedding they had announced that the bridal party would take group photos with each side of the family. Since I always have my camera, I went over there to snap some shots. But as I looked around I saw that all arms were extended and taking photos with phones. There was not a single real camera around. (The phone paparazzi at any event is really out of control- nothing like boundaries that are at weddings in America).
|Even the officiant's translator took a chance to capture the bride and groom up close :)|
I asked who the official photographer was and the MC said, “I thought you were.” Ok- from merry wedding witness to official wedding photographer. They then told me to get into the cars with all of the bridesmaids and groomsmen to go for the nice photos.
We drove to town (20 minutes each direction) and I stood in the drizzling rain for about 45 minutes as I organized some attempt at nice bridal party photos. Then, with the rest of the guests (and the whole village near LCH) waiting for us at the church, we loaded back into the cars.
The bride and grooms car left. The groomsman’s car left. The car I rode in was filled with the people I came with. But there was no driver. And then I look behind to see all of the bridesmaids huddled under the veranda. Knowing that we needed to go, I honked the horn to signal the driver to come. Nothing. Since local language was being spoken back and forth with increasing volume, I interjected the simple question, “Where is our driver? And the car for the bridesmaids?”
You will never guess where they went!! To the clinic to check on their sick patient. What?!?! Are you kidding me?!?! I thought you were being paid to be the bridal party’s driver. TIA.
My car-mates’ voices were getting increasingly louder and distressed. “Banange! (literally translated- you people) Where is the driver?!! I wish he would have left the keys if he was going!” That is when I noticed and announced that the keys to our car were still in the ignition. It was a unanimous decision that the current passengers should vacate the vehicle to allow the bridesmaids to enter (since even if the bride and groom reach the reception, they will be waiting on the bridesmaids before they “march” in). So, all 6 bridesmaids piled in and then the vacated passengers followed the ever-true motto “There is always room for one more.” So with about 12 people in the back,
I We hijacked the small van.
I am so glad I learned to drive stick-shift on the big vans in Uganda. With a little bumpy start we were off, back to Bulolelo village to meet up with the rest of the bridal party so that the reception could officially begin. But remember how I said it was drizzling during photos? Well, it was still drizzling. And vehicles here are always decorated with fancy ribbon and bows during any major event.
Though I debated whether I could drive without the wipers to preserve the fancy ribbon that covered our car, I decided that seeing properly was a better choice and turned on the wipers.
THEY DIDN’T WORK!!
So, now I had no option but to drive my high-jacked, overloaded, manual, fuel-light-warning-on, non-working-wiper vehicle back to the reception, while shifting my head/eye position to try and find the least drizzly spot to look through. Oh Uganda!
The comments in the car were great. “Eh Na-talie. From photographer to driver. You are multi-purpose.”
We reached the reception and someone came up to me and asked, “What happen to the driver?!” “We left him in town” was all I could say. Ha. Talk about a random days events!
But overall the day was wonderful and colorful and the groom (one of our teachers) was so so happy.