More Adventures in Uganda

I want to share with you a beautiful ceremony that we were blessed with witnessing while in Uganda.  Linda and Will, the creators of the Fistula Project, have been sponsoring a young woman through her schooling.  She is graduated now, has a great job working with people with disabilities, and she was marrying.  We were invited to the introduction ceremony; this is where the groom and his family are presented to the bride’s family.

The following photos are crap.  I’m sad that I was such a poor photographer on this amazing day.  I am thankful it is burned into my memory.

We drove north to Kapchorwa, which is in east central Uganda, near the Kenya border.  Much of the family was gathered at the Masha Hotel in Kapchorwa.  We hung out there until we received word that it was time to head up the mountain to the family home of the bride.  The entire countryside in this area is heavenly; the Masha was no exception.  We wandered the magnificent grounds, took photos, followed lizards, stepped in some really squishy, gelatinous substance that I suspect had something to do with the outhouse that was nearby.

The groom’s family was preparing gifts of food to present at the ceremony.

The food was placed in traditional woven baskets and wrapped in cellophane and ribbons.

When we were summoned the group caravaned up and up the mountain, over narrow, red dirt roads, bouncing over deep ruts.  When we arrived at the top we found the women of the bride’s family had formed a barricade.  They had a string across the road and they were singing and ululating.

The groom’s family queued up.  They had to pay in order to be allowed past the line of women!

These are the bride’s attendants.  Are they not breathtaking against that stormy sky?  They danced to the music blasting from speakers.

Sister of the bride.

I do wish I had a better photo of this young woman.  I found her so incredibly beautiful I couldn’t stop staring.  I’m pretty sure she was tired of this mzungu looking at her.

The gifts of food were carried in procession.

This ja ja was incredible, so full of joy.  She sang and danced and waved that yellow cloth during the entire ceremony.

The bride arrives in the traditional gomasi dress.

She wraps her groom with this tartan.  Words were spoken by many; gifts and rings were exchanged.

After a change of clothes, the bride and her attendants made another round.  After this, traditional fancy cakes were presented, then the feasting began!  Women went through the crowd with pitchers of warm water and bars of soap for us all to wash our hands.  Then we dined upon plates piled high with chicken, goat meat, matoke, some tiny eggplant in a sauce, and more vegetables, which we all ate with our fingers.  It was yummy.  I wish I had some right now.

During this event, it rained all around the mountain, but not on us.  After the ceremony, we and many more than we started with all piled into our van, with Gabriel our driver shaking his head with wide eyes.  The trip down the mountain was one of the most harrowing experiences of my life.  Those rutted roads were now thick with mud and rivers of red running down.  Gabriel carefully negotiated the ruts, while the van leaned far over to this side then that, and we looked down the mountainside, our turn for wide eyes.  We made it to the bottom alive and all breathed a huge sigh of relief.

Next week I’ll share some photos of Sipi Falls, our one last jaunt before leaving Uganda.

2 Replies to “More Adventures in Uganda”

  1. First of all – your pictures are not “crap”! In fact after visiting several posts – Uganda and otherwise – I can honestly say – you don’t shoot “crap” at all!

    And speaking as a wedding photographer, I assure you – this wedding would have been a challenge for most – for many reasons – cultural differences and language barriers being just two.

    I find little to be admired in photographs taken to display the awesomeness of the photographer – they are obviously calculated, cold and without a soul. Your images on the other hand are filled with soul – and while it is apparent that you have a good eye for a photograph and do take care when making an image, what strikes me most is that your images are taken with your heart. I see that even in your tutorials! And THAT is a gift.

    And now – just one more thing to say – a heartfelt thank you for all the time and effort you have gone to to share the images and to try to find the right words to express your feelings and experiences.

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