Just over a week ago, I packed up my bags yet again. (I’m not sure if I getting better or worse at packing, but things seem to be expanding.) Friday morning we left in our respective groups to the three CBT (community-based training) sites. I have O-land/Wambo land in the north NORTH. It was a LONG bus ride with a stop to drop off half the bus at another site. We got to the hub we would be staying the night around 19:00, ate dinner and spent our last hours hanging out in a big group before being dropped off with our new homestay families. The next morning, my language group of 10 was the first to leave. I was the second person dropped off at what would be my new home for the next three weeks. I got a very special welcome, as my family was hosting a wedding the day of my arrival. I was greeted by my host mom and her sisters wearing matching outfits, waving the tails of horses around. They greeted me, as they got ready to take the bride to the church. I did a little settling into my new room and then helped out with the food preparation for the wedding. I shredded cabbage for the oslaye okaanakamundeshe na ombidi (carrot and cabbage salad). I also helped with the mixing of the potato salad, which is different than any potato salad I’ve ever had before. It consisted of potatoes, white pepper, green onions, mayonnaise (LOTS), pineapple Fanta and sugar. Yep, cool drink and sugar.
When the bride and groom arrived to the homestead, they waited by the car while everyone hurried to finish the preparations and get dressed. My family tried to let me borrow a dress made of traditional Wambo fabric, but it was a bit too small in the arms and short on my long legs. When everyone was ready, they went out to meet the bride and groom halfway and we walked them into the “home.” There was dancing, singing and jumping involved. Everyone gathered under a tree while different family members and friends gave speeches, after which people went to gather gifts or money to give to the happy couple. They formed a line to drop gifts with the couple and congratulate them on their marriage. After this it was time for food. Those who were churchgoers (those that do not drink) sat in a white tent in front of the home, while the rest of us ate and drank inside the home. There was goat and chicken served with rice, pasta, and the salads I helped to make. Afterwards people talked late into the night. A fellow trainee and I spoke with some of our “cousins” for a long while and even took some pictures with them that were later posted on Instagram. It was an interesting night full of new concepts on foods, lots of Oshikwanyama and meeting new people. Can’t wait for more Wambo weddings, as this one was considered a small wedding.