July 18, 2009

The Mozambican Wedding

This is Manuel (and our turkey a.k.a. Thanksgiving Dinner). He is one of our current staff members, and actually he was one of our orphans at Maforga (where we did our Bible school internship in 1997). He is getting married in a few weeks. We are learning lots about Mozambican culture as we help him prepare for his wedding. He has already paid for his fiance. Yes I said paid. He had to pay a bride price to her family like all men here do. It is quite a testing period that a young man must go through. He then had to be presented with her to her home church to have them determine if the marriage was acceptable. They agreed for the wedding to proceed. Then last week he had to go get his bride to be several miles out into the bush and take her to his mother's house for her to spend two weeks with her mother in law for training on how to be a good wife. I thought this was quite interesting. In my thinking it could go either way; either it helps prevent a lot of those mother in law/daughter in law tensions or the daughter in law could decide she's crazy to be marrying into the family and want to get out. Regardless, it is obvious to us that Manuel is wanting to marry Laurinda because he loves her which is not the norm here in Mozambique. Women are very mistreated, abused and taken advantage of, and treated as slaves. So much so that although Manuel is a Christian we have had discussions with him about how he should not follow culture norms and beat his wife. The young men are taught to beat their wives from the very beginning so they will respect them and will not be a problem. Sadly, most young women ( often girls marry from the age of 13 on) are taught to expect to be beaten and that if they are not then they are not valued and loved. Challenging culture is difficult but necessary is some cases. So to see a young couple that actually care for each other and want to do things God's way, in a loving way is encouraging. I am to make the wedding cake so I will have to tell you later how that all goes since I have no idea, although I have questioned Manuel vigourously, what the cake is supposed to look like.

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