I mentioned in an earlier post that recently there was a wedding in the community. The wedding was for one of David’s nephews who has become his adopted son. Over a thousand people were in attendance and when I arrived the community was still recovering.
An interesting thing about Kenyan weddings is that it is not the couple’s wedding. The event, the celebration, is seen as a community occasion. The couple actually makes very few decisions about the day. In fact, they don’t even really decide who to invite. Word-of-mouth combined with a few cards that are mailed, spread the news. There are no RSVP’s and no indication of who may be coming – not just for the day; but the groom’s family may also be expected to hosts unannounced visitors both before and after the event.
The reason it is viewed as a community celebration is because every other thing in the person’s life has been viewed as a community event. If someone moves into a new house, the community brings everything that the person needs – food, dishes, and other household goods. When the person gets married, the community provides what they need. As David shared – it serves as a reminder that someone else picked the flowers which are adorning you. Someone else sewed the material to create the dress. Others were responsible for the food preparation and service. Each member of the community provides their contribution; and the community honors that. Within twenty-four hours of the wedding, all the dishes that the community had gathered from various homes were washed and returned to their rightful owner. The idea of community celebrations may seem foreign, but at least here in Kipkarren, it’s definitely efficient.
As I learned about the wedding traditions of this village, I was reminded of the passage in Acts 2. Truly everyone here shares and they have no possessions that are their own. Everything that a person has is available for the benefit of the community.
PS – I hope to post pictures soon.