Sunday, 26 February 2012

A beautiful Wedding

 Last week one of our beautiful volunteers got married to a lovely Rwandan man. It was such a beautiful day and the ceremony  was wonderful.

We are dressed in Mushananas which is the traditional costume for celebrations.....

....and here is the lovely bride and groom.

There are three parts to a marriage ceremony in Rwanda. The first part is the Civil Ceremony which is held at the local (umurenge) office and is the legally binding part of the marriage. This was held in the morning. 

Later on, in the afternoon the traditional dowry ceremony was held. This is a beautiful event and very fascinating in its traditions. The (extended) family is very important in Rwandan society and both families have to agree on the conditions of the marriage. The bride's family has to be assured that the grooms family are going to welcome his new wife and love her as much as they do their own daughters. Then there are traditions connected with cows and the giving of gifts. The bride is protected by her 'princes' until the groom comes to claim his Queen and prove his love. The whole ceremony is colourful and exciting - with dancing and drumming. It was a wonderful day. 

The third part of the wedding ceremony is where the couple are married by God in the church wedding. This part of the marriage will take place in Brigid's home church in Ireland.

They are a lovely couple and we all wish them a long and happy married life together.

Friday, 24 February 2012

Collecting water
The Dry Season is almost at an end. Until this week it hadn't rained at all since John and Cat were here in December. 

In my last blog I wrote about the red dust covering the roads and surrounding vegetation. The dust got deeper and deeper until it was inches thick. Everything turns brown and it is very difficult to keep things clean. We are lucky, we have running water most of the time in our house but during the dry season the water goes off frequently and so when the water is available I have to fill up the jerry cans and the big water butt so that we have water for all our daily needs. 

In the countryside it is not so easy because as the water sources dry up the women and children have to walk further and further down the hill to collect water and carry it back to their homes. When water is scarce you have to prioritise - so water for drinking and cooking comes before water for washing clothes.

cleaning the dust off my shoes
Shoes and feet turn orange with the dust and have to be cleaned regularly - I clean my shoes everyday - my Dad would be proud of me!!

To some-one who comes from the UK the Dry season is wonderful but to the farmers here it is very worrying if the dry season goes on too long. So last week I joined them in praying for rain and on Saturday it rained for the first time. There was great rejoicing. I must say the  world felt refreshed afterwards, the air was cleaner. But the season changes slowly and so far we have had rain on 3 out of the 7 days. This will increase as the days go by. It means that the road conditions vary now - sometimes there are still piles of dust everywhere and sometimes the roads are slippery because the earth cannot soak up the sudden rain.

Next blog I will show you photos of roads in Rwanda - no motorways but excellent tarmac roads (A roads) in urban areas or from big town to big town, then B roads, C roads and totally unclassifiable roads!!

Your Spring will be coming soon I'm sure the daffodils will be showing through - don't forget to let me know when you spot those gorgeous spring flowers.

Lots of love to everyone