When in Rome…

After my first month or so of being in Uganda, I got the chance to meet a nice young college student- Bashir.  He absolutely loves his country and has strived to help me learn about the culture and daily way of life as a typical Ugandan.

The biggest thing I have learned so far, is how Ugandans give their visitors their very best.  It is their greatest pleasure to host a visitor and they are most happy when the visitor allows them to give them the best accommodations and a share in the food.

I had the privilege of attending the wedding of Bashir’s cousin, hosted by their Nubian tribe in Bombo just outside of Kampala, Uganda.  The family even allowed for me to bring my 2 friends because I explained to them that I do not travel alone.  I brought Christine  who is a Ugandan woman from the East not too far from Bombo who knows some of the local language, and PULSE volunteer Federica Dall’Aglio.  The family arranged for us to have traditional outfits to wear and henna tattoos.  They also gave us formal recognition during the wedding ceremony.  We were asked to stand up and acknowledge the guests while they announced our names and where we were from. They not only allowed for us to take as many photos as we wanted, but urged us to do so, while also letting us visit the bride as often as we liked, who had to remain indoors in her room until the reception.

The wedding starts when the groom delivers the sela -the dowry to the bride’s family 2 days prior to the official ceremony.  This is an exciting time for the bride’s family and thus the celebration starts by receiving various family members, guests and religious leaders to witness and confirm receiving the list of the items requested by the bride.  Then lunch is served.  The next evening there is more celebration with music and dancing the night before the wedding ceremony.  And then on the wedding day, the ceremony starts before lunch time and goes late into the evening with lots of family and friends sharing in some of the most traditional foods such as matoke, gurusa, and luguma (posho) with more music and dancing.

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15 comments

  1. I love the post and the pictures! You look great, as always, and your outfit is so beautiful! I admire what you are doing, I know this is a great experience for both you and all the wonderful people you are having a chance to meet

  2. Omg, that’s so awesome! As a volunteer this year, I’ve realised that it’s easier to feel at home once you actually become part of the “local” life. Love the wedding pics, and also the fact that you were even able to bring 2 friends along to enjoy the wedding with you.

  3. Thanks Mandi for sharing with us Ugandan traditional marriage ceremony and celebrations!. Looks like you are deeply immersed in the local culture and had wonderful time. Beauty of PULSE assignment.. – Go out, see and learn, and widen your horizons

  4. What an amazing experience! Thank you for sharing your Ugandan experience. You brought the great big world a little closer.

  5. I found your story interesting. I am from Kenya and Ugandans are our neighbours. I hope you are enjoying ‘Matoke’, which is a popular food item in Uganda and watching Gorillas.

    1. Oh, thank you so much for your comment. I do really like matoke and the different sauces I have tasted especially the g-nut sauce. And I saw the gorillas last weekend. It was so cool to spend some time with them. I love Uganda. I hope to visit Kenya sometime if not this trip, then a future trip for sure.

  6. The wedding pics are fantastic! what a great opportunity you had in attending it as well as being received & treated as a special guest! Soak in this time & keep your chin up – it’s all gonna be over soon before you know 🙂 all the best Mandi!

  7. Thanks so much for sharing your experiences and photo journaling. Now I can see who Christine is 🙂
    I am living vicariously through you! God Bless

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