My friend Stephanie recently arrived in Kenya with her husband Andrew. Stephanie is an American and Andrew is of the Luo tribe. Andrew’s beloved grandmother died on December 31st and his large extended family began planning the funeral. They met almost daily for hours at a time and 2 weeks later, after a church service, a cortege to the homestead, services at the home, and a graveside service, Grandma was buried.
On January 28th, our friend Abel of Mozambique married his sweetheart from South Carolina in a beautiful outdoor wedding in Nairobi. His Mozambiquan friends were his family on that day, and Christa’s family came from the US. It was a delightful mix of traditions- Abel and his entourage danced across the field and down the aisle, Phil led the couple in very traditional western vows, Abel and Christa exchanged rings with hands held high for all to see, and the shocker was that in this African wedding, the groom was invited to kiss his bride. She had insisted!
This past week, my neighbor Emily’s grandfather passed away. Emily has been in Kenya for less than 5 months, and she was 8,000 miles from home. However, PJ (her husband) was invited to lead the service, using the wonders of Skype. And we prayed that the electricity and internet connection would work. At 8 pm on Feb 8th, I went next door for the funeral. I joined Emily and her mother-in-law (who was already here for a visit) in the living room as PJ stood in front of the computer and waited for the cue from the technician in Iowa. He gave a beautiful and touching eulogy and message and Emily heard her sister sing and stood with PJ when he prayed. Afterwards, they chatted with family and friends as they filed past the computer.
I love this big wide world and knowing there is more than one way to plan a wedding and more than one way to honor the passing of our loved ones.
Yes, I have so much to learn.