Unfortunately, our time in Tanzania has begun to draw to a close. However, we have been determined to get the most out of the remainder of our experience.
The big event of the last few days was the wedding of one of our cultural guides, Musa. It started Thursday, with the wedding send-off. In Maasai culture, this is when the bride's family sends her off to be married. We were told that we should arrive at 4:00 p.m. for the event, and being the Americans we are, we were sure to be five minutes early. However, our patience was put to the test as guests slowly trickled in and the event finally got started around 7:45 p.m. that evening. Once it started, it was very interesting to see. A lot of gifts were given to the bride's family, the bride had to play hide and seek to find the groom in the crowd, and we ate some more goat to conclude our experience.
In between the send off and the wedding, we took the time to explore two schools around the Eluwai boma. We visited a preschool that Musa helped to start, which has grown to 99 students with uniforms and a meal provided every day. They were very excited to see us, and sang lots of songs. We also had to dig into our childhood recollection of music and dug out the classics such as The Itsy Bitsy Spider and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.
The other school was a secondary school that both Musa and LeBoy have attended, and was the base for some summer research for Luther students. We were able to meet one of the founding teachers, who was able to tell us about the founding of the school and what he anticipated for its future. His opinion was that the Maasai material culture will change, but the immaterial core values will remain the same in the future, which was an interesting perspective to consider within the nature of our studies. He also was able to tell us about Musa and LeBoy as students. The rest of the afternoon was spent journaling, packing, and spending time playing with the kids from the boma.
This Saturday, the wedding day finally arrived. We packed up from our last boma stay and bused into Monduli, where we were able to get cleaned up again before heading to the wedding. It was very different from the weddings most of us have attended before. It began with yet again another lesson in African time, as the event began an hour and a half behind the scheduled timeframe. The wedding party came in as the bride and groom plus best man and maid of honor. The rest of the bridal party came in as well but sat several rows behind most people, and the parents were nowhere to be found in this procesional. The service itself started off with a conversion of the bride from Roman Catholic to Lutheran before continuing to a service slightly more recognizable as a wedding. Afterwards, everyone who was there drove through town on the wedding processional, stopped at a viewpoint to take pictures, and then headed to the reception, where the main entrée was another goat. Unfortunately, we had to leave partway through in order to ensure a timely arrival back at Vijiji, but we throughly enjoyed what we were able to attend, and were honored to be a part of such an incredibly significant life event.