Voyages & Découvertes

The engagement party

Monday 24 March 2008 by Stephan Mardaga

I was promised an official invitation, I am still waiting. Anyway there is no more need, for the confirmation of my arrival at the party was substantiated by the purchase of drinks at the UNMIL PX supermarket through my hand prints. The venue of the engagement party is at Eric’s residence. His sister in law is being engaged by her partner. His dwelling place which has a fenced yard with carpet grass was chosen for the occasion.
I departed my River View’s residence, 10 minutes before the time. The short cut which leads around the police station is the easier access to get there. I arrived in the area at about 16H00 and I noticed few police officers and a group of persons at the entrance. Eric who spotted me from a little distance gently ushered me in automatically. In a brief summary of what transpired prior to my arrival, I learned that the ex-partner of the groom-to-be attempted to disrupt the occasion on the ground of still having claims on him.Indeed an unexpected ingredient to grace the occasion ! However the incident was quickly brought under control.

The host of the occasion being to much busy with others matters, selected an ideal place under a shade near a lady and her baby. An introduction is done. The decoration of the yard is a mater piece (colourful balloons crossing the yard all over, table clothes and gadgets, ... ).
Invitees sat graciously all around the tables. The musical set was installed under the palava hut. Invocations of prayers headed by a Lutheran priest opened the floor along with songs glorifying the almighty God, while woman were already on the dancing spree.

A little over an hour, it was then time for the buffet. Rice, chicken, vegetables and a beer. I picked up this opportunity to sit at another table to exchange ideas is a little bit difficult, apparently people are intimidated by my presence; it is somehow unusual for a white man in such a family gathering.Children look at me with deep curiosity. The sun is about to stand drinks room around while the D.J. plays American hits. The dancing floor is a little crowded and a time goes on, invitees start taking their exit. Furthermore, there is nothing more to drink.

A young girl decides taking the bull by the horns and through her influence African latest hits engulf the place : Liberia, Sierra Leone, Congo, ... with a slow tide the jamboree resumes but not really until I took up courage and got on the dancing floor. From all indications, my initiative was long awaited by the crowd. Children as well as older people abandonned their seats. I could see little girls exibiting lovely attitudes, looking at me in a provocative manner. I was a littlke disturbed by these innocent soul’s inner motives. In a bid to set a margin, I invite a pregnant woman on the floor. A great cheering resulted, and one behind another, we formed a circle dancing in the garden.

At the end, I am opportune to get a lift by one of the invites. I am exhausted and wet with sweat. I thanked Eric, his wife Comfort and everyone for this beautiful afternoon, wonderful and spontaneous family gathering.

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