WE HAVE BEEN MARRIED FOR ALMOST 7 YEARS
On our 1 year wedding anniversary, we had a party in Texas to celebrate our marriage. Bonnie and Clyde Pierson hosted a Hawaiian themed party and we had a grand buffet and enjoyed everyone's company and well wishes. Sylvester presented my mother with a chicken in exchange for my hand in marriage. It was a reminder of his heritage and traditions from Zambia. Of course the chicken was mechanical and sang the chicken dance when you pressed it's beak... very appropriate match for my mother's sense of humor. As nice as the party was, it really seemed to remind Sylvester how much he missed his family, especially his mother who had passed away just a few years before.
When we went to Zambia this summer, the family surprised us with a traditional Marriage Celebration. I am so honored that they wanted to take the time to celebrate with us and even more thankful that my children were able to be involved in the whole process. It was really an amazing event. The ladies of the family gathered early in the morning to start the cooking. They made one of every traditional Zambian dish... it was a feast! They gave me a Chitenge cloth to wear and put a traditional wrap on my head. They lead us through several Zambian traditions. Many of these traditions would have taken place before we were married, but they set up an entire celebration to include an evening of fun. They taught me how to make nshima... over a fire with a giant pot help up by 3 bricks. Not only could I not stir it properly, the whole pot nearly knocked the bricks over. They just kept picking it up with their bare hands and putting it back in the fire. Zambian women are not only amazing hard working cooks, but have amazing talents including hands of steel. They sang traditional songs, did traditional tribal dances from both sides of the family, and prayed in many languages. Family members took turns speaking kind words upon us and giving us money. Sylvester's second oldest sister preached about marriage while the youngest sister translated for me. Sly and I were each asked to say a few words but by the time it was our turn to speak, we were nearly overcome by emotion. Brandon helped me to present Chitenge cloths to 3 very important ladies who were "standing" in for Sylvester's parents. Webster Munchini's mother was a great friend of Alice Pupe and has continued to spend time with her children. Sylvester's father's sister "stood" for his side of the family. Sylvester's mother's cousin was also able to join us. She looks a lot like Alice did in her younger years which made it really hard for Sylvester to keep himself together when he first saw her. The ladies presented the food and explained about each dish. Then they presented me with a cooked chicken that was for my family. The chicken had traveled a far distance from the village in a little handmade wooden cage. It had run about the yard at the family house for weeks waiting for this occasion to be presented to me. They taught me about Zambian customs and gave me words of wisdom about how to take care of my husband and how to treat my in-laws. I hope that I have upheld my end of the deal.
I'm not a fan of being filmed, or followed around by a camera, just as I'm not a fan of being the center of attention. I ducked the cameras at first but just gave up after a bit. Now that everything is over and I'm back home, I really am grateful to have pictures and videos of this event. Joseph, who I call my stepson (read back a few posts for the official explanation), took all of the videos and put them together to create this movie. He did this in a matter of days and is clearly very talented to be able to put this beautiful movie together in such a short time. He surprised us with the movie as we were leaving.
Feel free to watch the video and celebrate right along with us!