Saturday, July 17, 2010
The Marriage Feast
The day before, the bride’s family women perch in a circle of wooden stools in the clearing between the huddling houses. They’re cooking Banku and Okra soup, Ampesi and Garden-Egg stew, Jollof Rice and Beef stew, etc, etc. The chatter is high in the beginning, but drains off every now and then, until somebody ‘bribes’ their enthusiasm with a round of safe alcohol. Some are not joining in – too many cooks will confuse the taste, I guess. But they burnish the banter, and provide substitutes. The kids are playing close by; hoping to be favoured with testing-tasting first servings. A neighbour sets up mammoth speakers and belts Hiplife tracks on the humid air. Passersby look on amused. The atmosphere is sizzling with expectation, and with preparation. My best friend’s traditional marriage.