We had a call this morning from Bill in Namibia. He said the wedding is mostly over except "the girls are at the farm finishing cleaning up" after the celebration. He said the wedding started off at a church in Okalongo (click this link to see a typical wedding, but it's not Tangeni and Shalimba's), then everything and everybody was loaded up and taken to the farm of the bride's family a few kilometers from the Angolan border and miles into the dusty countryside. There a reception was set up for the bride's family and guests. Apparently the groom's father and mother do not attend, but then everything is packed up again and taken to the groom's family farm where there is a reception that includes all the groom's family and guests - the bride's mother was not invited. After all the receptions and partying at the family farms, the bride and groom have to remain at the groom's parents for a day and there are other traditions that must be kept before they are free to go on their way as a couple.
Monika's grandmother who is 104 years old, was there and had a great time. She kept up with everything and all the celebrating. Bill said she has most of her own teeth, doesn't even need glasses, and "has a good strong handshake." She was in a wheelchair, but that was just because it was easier for everyone as they were moving around a lot.
Bill said the partying gets pretty rowdy and he was a little concerned when rifles were being shot into the air - but fortunately the groom's family had hired security guards and they shut down the shooting right away.
Bill said the flowers were a big hit and held together through all the moving about in the heat and dust. He said they might have been a little dusty by the time they got to the groom's family reception, but they were still pretty. People kept touching them, wondering why they weren't wilting. He said he saw various children wearing the bridesmaids' wrist corsages, and some other people not in the wedding with some of the flowers as things wound down, so they were definitely a hit.
Little Tangeni is having a blast with so many kids her age to play with and learning new things, going barefoot in the dust just like the other children. She was reluctant at first, but after a couple days was just as dusty and dirty as any of the other kids. They are all glad to get back to their hotel each night to take showers. It's very dry there, but this is their winter and temperatures are only in the 90s with 50s at night, and not much humidity. Bill said the farms are able to raise much of their own food - grains and animals, and are pretty much self-sufficient. Monika's family's farm has cows and chickens - and one of the traditions is that the bride has to select the cow that will be slaughtered to feed their wedding guests. I'm not sure if she or the groom makes the selection for the groom's family celebration.
Being so close to Angola is a little scary, but Bill said there has been no trouble except some youngsters looking for beer got a little rowdy when they weren't given any. They weren't part of the wedding party, but sort of materialized out of the surrounding bush.
We won't have pictures until after they get home, but I'll post some as soon as I get them.