Monday, December 28, 2009

Get Me to the Church on Time!

Bayo and I were married 13 years ago today. I was an hour late to our wedding due to circumstances beyond my control. Hmmm, I 've never put it that way before. It's completely true, but now having lived in Nigeria for 14+ years, I certainly wouldn't make the mistake of only having Plan A as I did on that day.

Here's the scoop: Bayo had made arrangements with a friend of his to pick me up from my house at 10 a.m. and get me to the church in time for our 11 a.m. wedding. Well, it was the 4th Saturday of the month and there was enforced city-wide sanitation from 7-10 a.m. This means "Stay home and clean your compound. No driving allowed." Ok, we knew that so we figured the driver would leave his house about 10 and pick me up about 10:10 and get me to the church by 10:25 or so. No problem.

Well, what we didn't count on was that the driver had not prepared the car beforehand. You can't carry a bride to the church in an undecorated car! So at 10 a.m. he went out to the market to buy ribbon and tape, etc. so he could decorate the car.

Meanwhile, my bridesmaids and I had left my house and were standing out in the driveway of my compound looking for the driver.(I didn't have a car at the time and didn't drive in Nigeria.) Thankfully a friend happened to drive through our compound "just in case we needed anything." Yes--get me to the church in time!

Finally we arrived at the church compound. Then we all had to quickly get dressed and get our hair done. At the stroke of noon, I walked down the aisle. Of course, Bayo was in a panic over what had happened to me. All the guests came on time to our wedding since it was a bature (white person) getting married, and we are known for keeping to time--ha!

But I guess that was just part of my immersion into the culture as I joined the vast majority of tardy Nigerian brides!


Sarah Hensley said...

I hope you were not as stressed as I would have been!! Happy Anniversary!

PS (PSanafter-thought) said...

While in Uganda, waiting for a ceremony that was, basically to honor us (??) we were told it would start at about 10:30 am and at 10:00 we were told that we were to take a walk in the neighborhood. I was apprehensive, but did as I was told. Most interestingly, that walk and meeting lots of people outside their huts, was one of the most interesting hours of the trip. But then we were told that some official guy wanted to meet us and we weren't close by, so a motor cycle was sent to get us. That was interesting, as I didn't want to sit on that thing and have my skirt fly up and show my legs.

The ceremony got started well after 12:00 and a couple of the big shots didn't show up for a couple more hours. We were sure hungry by the time they served food several hours later. I wondered, the whole time as I watched several women stirring, stirring, big pots over a fire, how they could figure out how to time the food to be served.

Everything went so long and late that they finally gave up on translating everything that was said.

Amazingly, there were some children who sat there the whole time and didn't move from their spots. I don't know any American children who could do this.

So I really did learn the meaning of African Time. In Uganda, there are official slogans printed here and there about not following African Time because it isn't economically helpful to the country.

Jannine Ebenso said...

I was late for our wedding too! Ha ha!

In our case it was a cultural misunderstanding. Long story!

Happy Anniversary Bayo and Mary Beth!