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Phil and Linda Byler, missionaries in Sudan
October 29, 2013 1:17 pm
Published in: Uncategorized

P&L photoIt was our second Uganda Wedding Introduction. This time we were a bit more prepared with proper attire and expectations. And with the couple being our compound neighbors made it special.

The proper attire for the men is the “kanzu” topped by a dark dress coat and for the women the traditional colorful dress called a “gomas.”  These gomas are seriously colorful and usually have underlying extra padding to accentuate the hips. They are pretty tricky to assemble and to wear with only two buttons and a BIG belt to hold the wrap around yards of fabric into position. This being her second time, Linda, after getting help from our neighbor lady to assemble it, inserted a few hidden safety pins to improve her confidence in remaining well dressed.

IntroductionAn introduction is almost as big a deal as a wedding and seals the couple as fully married from the standpoint of society and family. The party atmosphere follows a script of acting like the families have never met the proposed and then playfully going through a series of first introducing aunties who ” find” the groom in the audience and introduce him. Later the bride appears as one amidst a group of other beautiful women who colorfully dance their way into the center and eventually the bride is identified amidst great rejoicing.

This introduction took an unexpected turn for most participants. It was a coming together of two different tribes and somewhat different cultural customs related to introductions. The husband’s tribe locally settles the dowry negotiations prior to the introduction while the bride’s tribe from Northern Uganda does it during the introduction. Today the audience waited about three hours for the dowry to be settled before the ceremony could be concluded. Consequently there was quite a time of inactivity after the meal while the dowry negotiations took place privately. We might have slipped away earlier except our vehicle was not only parked in but had transported and was holding dozens of gifts to be given to the bride’s family as soon as the dowry was settled. Meanwhile we learned that God introduced the concept of dowry in Genesis. The very first dowry was Adam’s rib.

Linda and BeatriceA day’s highlight was getting acquainted with Beatrice pictured in the green gomas with Linda. This vibrant 23- year-old primary school teacher affirmed her unmarried status by declaring that she is so much in love with Christ and her desire that this “wonderful invisible relationship” with Jesus be so strong that it would meet her deepest heart needs instead of falsely expecting a future husband to fill those needs. What an inspiration! Later when I asked where she goes to church I was not surprised at her answer of Watoto Central. This is the mother church of Watoto South where we so much enjoy Christ-centered worship, teaching and fellowship with others who are passionate about Jesus.

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