JOHN WEDS BERTHA
THE JOURNEY TO.
A few months ago. I got a text from Bertha, my good friend that hosted me during my Dar Es Salaam trip last year, saying she was engaged and marrying her love John and asked me whether I could attend. Naturally I packed my bags and my general self and headed on down.
Initially I’d booked my flight for the 15th but B said something about me missing the Kitchen Party, first I’d heard of such a thing so I assumed it was the Bachelorette party. So on the 12th of June I got up bright and early, 6 am and headed to the airport and got there with a good hour to spare.
It appears the airport is undergoing some much needed renovation and although that would usually mean chaos and disorganization got through checking in easily and kept it moving.
In the waiting lounge I was pleasantly surprised to bump into a friend from high school Tamara who I hadn't seen in 7 years but had kept in touch with on social media on several occasions, it was great that we were heading to the same destination as well. After a few selfies and catching up we set off from Entebbe to Kigali, Now I maintain that the Kigali departure lounge is one sad place so I was very grateful for Tam's company.
An hour later we set off for Dar, the plane was very comfortable with lots of leg room; I sat next to a Chinese family, a little girl, Dora and her mother on my right. No sooner had I buckled my seat belt than Dora started taking pictures with me in them tried to inch out of the way but she'd just get closer to me and took my hand in hers, snapping away, it was pretty cute and her mum just laughed and smiled the whole time. I like to think she told her friends she'd made a friend on the plane, somewhere out there I’m on Chinese Facebook.
Dora's mum, with some difficulty with English told me the family was touring Africa and had done Zambia and Zimbabwe so far. The pictures they'd taken were very cool.
En route we could see Mt.Kilimanjaro in the distance which had me thinking I need to visit Arusha one of these long days.
Lunch was served and after wolfing down the first 5 spoons I got to actually taste it, I’d never had ghee mashed potatoes, yum! I went over to check on Tam who was mesmerized by a hot white guy seated in front of her, I sat for a few minutes as we objectified him and laughed in awe at one guy drinking his 4th wine bottle in 45 minutes, a man after my own heart, get all your moneys’ worth sir!.
At 4 pm, we arrived in Dar, Tam stayed with me while I filled in the immigration papers and what do you know, Tanzanians and residents don't have to engage in said nonsense, Uganda take note.!
We went outside and I expected to see B but she was nowhere in sight. I called and she told me her cousin Dawn was coming to get me, Tam stayed with me and waited much to her drivers utter annoyance. A good hour later, yes, a whole hour, D showed up and we all finally left.
D was hungry and suggested we have pork to which I will never say no to such an invitation.
After him expertly dodging the legendary Dar traffic, we drove to Sinza, a place called De France which is a night club, bar and restaurant. We had pork sizzlers with fried plantain and of course Konyagi,it had been a while but the reunion was swift and very sweet.
B called to tell me another friend of hers Natasha was flying in, so I was to wait for her so we could all head home together.
We then went to D's place to wait where I decided to take a nap, which was short lived with Jonas,B's cousin, his friends G and Davido and Natasha arriving, we totally hit it off right away, they are good fun people those ones.
Now if I’m to be completely honest, I have absolutely no memory of the events that transpired post short lived nap on account of the severe fatigue I had going on, with all the excitement I’d barely grabbed a wink all week and that morning I’d only slept for 3 hours max, and well the two bottles of Konyagi didn't help either Ha! But according to video evidence we had ourselves a mini rager that night on account of it being Davido's birthday and just so you know I was very coherent and alive.
We left eventually for Golani, Jonas’s family home, this part I do remember, me and N got to our room and B joined us, it was really great seeing her again and guess what,shes pregnant!!We stayed up catching up and went to sleep at about 4 am.
This was going to be a long week.
THE SHINDIGS THAT WERE
Lordy, Lordy, Lord was my head banging upon waking up at an ungodly hour the next morning as we had to head to the salon to prepare for the Kitchen party. Turns out, Kitchen parties are nothing like I expected. I’d imagined bachelorette nights of general mischief! I really need to be more mindful of the continent I live on!
A Kitchen party is pretty much a ladies only event were the future bride is given lots of advice and household and kitchen appliances to fill her new home. I’d honestly thought we were just heading to someone’s’ home, sit in a circle and talk but no, this was a full blown party with a beautiful hall and catering but I’m jumping ahead...
I was a bit car sick heading there and really all I wanted to do was sleep but there is no such thing for the wicked is there? B asked if me and Tash wanted to have our makeup done to which we gleefully accepted, now I've only recently started wearing makeup and only do the basics but the lady working on us downright transformed me into someone else, and I loved it!
At 7 pm, we set off for the party. B looked gorgeous, her gown was exquisite! Me, Tash and Rose, B’s friend snagged ourselves a corner table at the venue and went on to enjoy the proceedings even with the whole language barrier. Tash and I got a major shout out from B who thanked us for coming all the way for the festivities which was pretty cool.
We were then called upon to help pop champagne for the toasts, naturally with all my Prosseco popping experience I stepped forward and imagine my super duper disappointment upon realizing it was sparkling wine, well it was Ramadhan. I did not bother getting my liver's hopes up for nothing so not a drop graced my lips.The food was great, cake scrumptious and at around midnight the festivities were done. We got back to Golani at 2 am.
It being a Monday and with no definitive plan, Tash and I totally slept in, woke up at midday, had breakfast or brunch if you will and spent the whole day watching television, really nice and chilled out. In the evening when Jonas got back from work we took a nice long walk around the hood. Golani is pretty rural and reminded me of my father's village in Muko, Kabale only with palm trees, my favorite, Really beautiful. The sunset was like no other. We got back and after more telly had a lovely home cooked meal and called it a day.
Tuesday rolled in and yes, our butts got up and 12 pm again. B had left the car behind for us to go through town and take in the sights with her brother Ray and cousin, William.
Now I have met a lot of people in my young life but William aka Mr. University aka Mr. Kuntu (Swahili for unique) is like no one I have ever met, he is hands down the most aggravating, narcissistic, self obsessed individual I have ever met . Oh my God this guy!
The simplest of questions directed at him always had us on the verge of WW111 and we generally needed information on things like currency exchange and translations, Personally I checked out after 6 minutes with this guy but Tash, a clearly much better human than I, bless her soul seemed to tolerate him and generally engaged him but trust that by the next day she too had had it and by then I was pretty immune. Ray on the other hand is real quiet and calm, a complete breath of fresh air.
The memory of that guy alone! I’ve had to take several breaths to calm down and continue on but I digress.....
We went to Millimani city, a large horizontal mall and first order of business was getting some money but the Forex bureaus wanted nothing to do with my humble shillings, Tash and her Kenyan shillings were more successful. Out of the many ATM's only one worked!
We also picked up some Gellato and the joy was real.
In the evening we left for Coco beach, traffic was insane but we made it eventually, going through Oyster Bay an upper class suburb
Coco beach is pretty basic, nothing special really, but what drives people there is the Mihogo, Mishkaki delicacy, essential fried cassava and meat on a stick and a stretch of bars along the coast, we ordered food, drank and took loads of pictures.
We then went to a bar for Shisha, we were joined by a friend, no, I meant employee, of Williams’,(Does he have friends I wonder), a young university girl. I've never met anyone who takes more pictures than this girl, It’s pretty clear who she's modeling herself after with all the posing and pouting, move over Kylie Jenner! If only she looked the part! entertaining to watch though. The shisha was great and we stayed for about an hour then set off for Golani,Once home, W showed us a music video he did forever ago with friends and his brother, for an armature video it was pretty good.I won't hate.
We headed to Survey, an area next to Millimani city where one of B's aunts lived, this was in the afternoon so we were pretty hungry.Tash and I were dying for some Subway, which we could have got earlier and gone on to help B with her wedding prep but a one Kuntu was PMSing claiming he was down with a stomach ache.I didn't buy it but kept my mouth shut as it was too early in the day to be a right bitch,when he did finally summon the "strength" to grace us with his presence hours later, we set off, oh and by the way, he wasn't ill, he had gas! Called it.
Tash and I went to Mcity to Samaki Samaki for lunchIi was in my element, Mojitos and sea food, it was nice having a calm moment with Tash.
We went back and were told we would be staying in Changanyikenyi at B's uncles’ house which would be serving as family house for the wedding.
We went back to Golani, packed a few clothes and picked up Rose and company.
The house was pretty massive.I’ve noticed houses in Dar are pretty large.I guess to accommodate large family members for weddings and such type events.
THE SEND OFF
A Send off is the Tanzanian version of a give way ceremony that Ugandans do, I was looking forward to seeing the similarities and differences between the two.
We went to the salon to get ready and at round 7; 30 pm we headed to the venue, B looked gorgeous as always.
The venue was in Sinza next to that bar Dawn took me to, the hall was massive and gorgeous; typically Ugandans hold this ceremony outdoors with loads of open space, never seen or heard of one indoors.
I really enjoyed the traditional music, the dancing and all; Tash got into it a lot more than I did on account of my dress always tripping me.My major observation was that with the Send off, it is the bride to look for her groom, with Give aways it’s the opposite, the bride is covered up and disguised, imagine the drama if he picks the wrong woman out of the bridal party!.
When all was said and done,John,the future groom, invited us on a night out so,Tash,Rose and I changed and jumped into the car with J,his brother Bariki and another guy whose name escapes me.
The bar was basic ,the music so-so but in the end we were all pretty beat from the day’s activities, we left at about 4 am, John invited us for a BBQ at his the next day to which we said we'd love to go.
We got back to Changa, but getting in took forever as everyone was sleeping. Tash tried some ninja moves to open the gate, funny to watch but absolutely not helpful.
We did get in eventually, sadly all the rooms were full, we found a little corner for ourselves somewhere. Before passing out we just lay there laughing our asses off at what, I’ll never know!
We spent Friday doing errands in downtown Dar, boy was it boiling! We picked up B's wedding band, her wedding dress, shoes and jewelry, while there Tash and I bought some dresses and stuff.
For transportation we used the Fast buses, a number of massive buses that are super cheap and relatively fast since they've got their own lanes thus no traffic. Uganda pay attention!After leaving B to go for church rehearsal, T, R and I got lunch and went back to Changa.
Now we had a dilemma, we had stayed at Changa longer than anticipated and had run out of clean clothes, we had hoped to go to Golani and pick up clothes, we talked to John about our plans, hoping to go for the BBQ after, sadly that didn't happen, we found ourselves sitting in a corner for hours, missing the BBQ in the process.
Tash was pretty disappointed, all I could think of was getting our stuff.eventually, at midnight, B’s cousin Magobo drove us to Golani, After a clean shower, packing our wedding gear, we went back.