Saturday, 21 June 2014

Talcal's Wedding

As we arrived at the wedding we were already an hour late. Macua weddings do not have a traditional ceremony like the ones we are used to however, so we had not missed much. Not long after stepping out of the car we were surrounded by curious children. Some looked like they were wearing their finest clothes, whilst other little kids had the same dirty and torn clothes they wear from day to day. It soon became clear that we were the main entertainment at the wedding, for children and adults alike.

We've had torrential rain at night but not a drop in the daytime. Dark clouds had been threatening us for a while as we sat there waiting, and as the first drops started to fall we were ushered inside a mud hut. We've acclimatised to the weather here and thus when the rain hit and hid the sun behind clouds we had to pull out our jumpers, although the temperature was still above 25 degrees.

The family hosting the wedding is very poor and most wedding guests would usually sit on mats on the ground, but we were seated at a table. At request we had with us our own plates, cups and cutlery. Lisa had warned us about the huge portions served at weddings, so I was relieved when the portion was the size of Arthur's Seat rather than Mount Everest. We were served Matapa (a traditional Macua dish) with beans, rice and green tomatoes on the side. After plowing through most of the mountain of food we went outside to watch a dance group perform. The dancers all wore the same capulanas as they danced to the beat of the drums. For a short time Talcal and his new wife joined the audience, and the dancers sang a song especially for them. It seems we were important enough to have a song too, since they sang about Akunhas at one point.

The dancing can continue for hours, and after a good while of watching the performance (and being watched by hundreds of beautiful eyes) we headed back to the car, followed by a big entourage of wedding guests who found our presence more entertaining than the dancing. As we crammed into the jeep and drove off they stared at us in wonder and waved. Is this not the kind of farewells that royals get?

I feel very lucky to have had the chance to experience a Macua wedding. It gave us a chance to learn more about their culture and to interact with the local people. The children take very good care of each other, and it's not uncommon to see an eight-year-old girl or boy carry their baby brother or sister wrapped around them with capulanas. They are openly affectionate and it's very heart warming. There is a lot that we can learn from the Macua people.

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