A Very Special Day

Today was a special day with two important events. The first LDS District was formed here in Addis Ababa, which is a huge milestone for the Church. This was also a special day because Danny & Worknesh got married! I went to the wedding to support Danny and Worknesh, and it was a great event that was fun, and that broadened my cultural awareness of Ethiopia. Some of the staff were able to go to the church meeting and came later for the wedding reception. The all said that the meeting was very good.  Akawak, our accountant, was put in as a member of the district council.

We celebrated Worknesh and Danny's wedding as only Ethiopians can celebrate, with lots of food and dancing!  We started by going to Danny's home in Addis where we paraded through to congratulate him, accompanied by the Christian/Ethiopian music playing.  There were several cameras and photographers, and lots of people.  On the way out of his home, there was a table of food for the guests. After another half an hour, Danny ceremoniously left his house and climbed into his "limo".

Shemelis led the procession in one of the company pickups with a cameraman in the back filming the motorcade. We made a loop around part of Addis, then drove to Holeta, honking our horns along the way.  An Ethiopian tour bus followed behind us, and blared an annoying airhorn, but it was still fun. We drove through Holeta and stopped at a hotel on the far side of town.

After another half an hour wait, we drove back through Holeta to Worknesh's home, where they had two big tents set up outside the fence, and one in the yard. We were escorted into the front rows of seating inside the two big tents. In front of us, on a raised platform, were the ornamental chairs and tables for the wedding party. There were two big, tall, armchairs for Danny and Worknesh in front of one table, and four other high-backed chairs and a table on either side for the bridesmaids and the best men.  The tables were nicely decorated with white tablecloths and flowers.  It all looked very beautiful.

Danny and his entourage danced and sang through the tent into Worknesh's home. Someone suggested that he was going to ask her father for her hand in marriage. Then they came solemnly marching out with the bridesmaids and the best men leading, followed by a spectacular scene of the bride and groom. They both looked so nice. After everyone was seated, the priest arose and started the ceremony.  The only part of the ceremony that I understood was "stand up" and "sit down", but it was still wonderful. The ceremony lasted for about 10 minutes. Worknesh and Danny just sat on their chairs behind the priest the whole time.  There were no "I do's" as is customary in the U.S.

After the ceremony, we followed them into their yard where they had another tent set up for the food.  They went out of their way to have some bread there for us "farenges" (foreigners).  I loaded up my plate with some of what I knew and some that I didn't know. Most of it was very good, and there were some battered vegetables that were incredibly good. I had some injera with dura wot (stew)  and a couple of other things, but I'm not sure what they were. I struggled to eat one dish that had long strips on sheep fat in it.  I was glad to have a Coke to wash it down.

After the meal, the dancing began. At first just a few people danced, but after a couple of songs, more joined in. The native dance is a head and shoulders jerking motion as the feet step to the beat of the music. A couple doesn't hold each other, but dances in front or alongside each other. In fact, they don't really pair up at all, they just all congregate in the center and clap and dance. People are encouraged to do a "solo dance" where they strut their stuff as others clap and encourage them. Paul and Wally each took their turns, to the delight of the crowd. They weren't as smooth as the Ethiopians but they made up for it in enthusiasm.

The dancing went on for a couple of hours, and then it was time to cut the cake. The cake-cutting ceremony lasted about half an hour, with a lot of pomp and circumstance. Danny's personality really came out as he teased the audience each step of the way. Our ceremonies are so boring compared to theirs. Once the ceremony had ended, we took pictures, said our goodbyes and left. We are all excited for Worknesh and Danny. They make a wonderful couple!

Haven and Mark were packing up to leave, so I spent some time with them discussing the past three weeks.  It is incredible what we accomplished in that time.  I will always be grateful for their assistance and advice and  I consider it a miracle that they came at this time to help us better define what we are doing here in Ethiopia.

Once everyone had left I had the opportunity to sit down with Paul and talk about our projects and Ethiopia in general. Paul is a great businessman, and listens carefully to the information given to him and asks probing questions to get to the real heart of an issue. I am so grateful that I have an opportunity to work for him.