Monday, 7 November 2011

Elective 23. The wedding

The ward round in the morning is nothing special, and I waste some time in the afternoon reading Salmon Fishing in the Yemen. A surprisingly good book for one left on a shelf in this house, at least so far. The magic today happens in the evening, when I am invited to Dr Bike's brother's wedding.

The ward round in the morning is carried out by Eggs, as we managed to persuade him to carry it out, as Dr Bike and the other doctors were preparing for the wedding and not around all day. Everyone in this village seems to be related, and so this was a big day for the whole village. When we were going around children's ward, there were 15 patients there. 12 of these were on metronidazole, a very popular antibiotic here, though none of these patients actually had any of the indications to be started on it (i.e. symptoms such as bloody diarrhoea). Of the 3 patients who were not on it, one of them had had 15 bouts of bloody diarrhoea yesterday. This is pretty much a perfect sign here to use metronidazole (amoebic dysentery) or at least an antibiotic against something like shigella, but instead he had been put on Co-trimoxazole (which is good prophylaxis from diseases such as PCP for these with HIV, but rubbish for things like bloody diarrhoea). I wouldn't have known which of these drugs to give if I hadn't looked up this sort of thing in the text books I bought, but the fact that I can learn this in weeks, and these doctors still seem to do things wrong, is pretty upsetting. I do manage to get this boy on more relevant antibiotics, though, which is a minor success. It is upsetting that the doctors are too set in their ways to look things up, though. 

In the evening l go to the wedding reception for Dr Bike's brother, in a hired minibus along with many familiar faces from the hospital. Its Strange going to the wedding of someone I have never met, though perhaps another example of Tanzanian generosity. I arrived at 7, the start time given on the invitation, along with the rest of the village, and waited around until 9.30 for the small group from the church to arrive at the reception. Typical Tanzanian time keeping again! I was sat at the front of the hall with Dr Bike's family in a position of honour, which was very embarrassing to start with, but the people there were amazingly friendly to me, so the awkwardness quickly disappeared. 

The reception started off with speeches, the cutting of the many small cakes (pic below) and their ceremonious distribution to family etc. The bride and groom had a number of ceremonies to go through, but it was very similar to a wedding in the UK, with big white dresses and the like. The bride looked very young, and absolutely terrified, poor thing. I suppose in Tanzania (and everywhere) weddings are pretty important!

Cake ceremonies are complex with so many little cakes! Look at those fairy lights all over the back wall. Sparkly...

The Ceremonies did not last for long, and Soon an 'MC' (as identified by his labelled rosette) was leading the crowd, some hundreds of people, and DJ into some dances. Dr Bike was absolutely crazy in his dancing, and cleary loved being the centre of attention. Everyone there was very friendly and welcoming to me, even though we spoke very different languages. The generator supplying the electricity for music and light went off a couple of times, leaving 10 Minute slots of what would be pitch black if people were not using their mobile phones as lights. Fantastic atmosphere. As the music turned off in these no-electricity periods, the MC (who turned out to be a vicar) strode up and down the black empty dance floor and Preached to the crowd. Capital P! The sort of preaching stereotypically associated with black people in the USA. That was certainly an experience, though I had no idea what he was saying. 

The MC yells out some preaching in between rude jokes about the bride and groom

Part way through the evening, food was served with sodas. The nicest food, and first bit of cake, I have had since coming to Tanzania! About 5 bottles of champagne appeared, and the bride and groom, With a couple of members of their respective families, delighted in shaking, then spraying the eating masses with the champagne. Dr Bike, and his many brothers then formed a brother-band, with all the brothers either singing or playing the guitar, other than Dr Bike who was given a tambourine. He was clearly the less-musically-trusted-one in the family. Everyone then formed a large conga line up to the champagne, to cheers the bride and groom while champagne was mixed with whatever drink you already had in your glass. I really enjoyed the whole thing, trying to chat with random relatives and friends and being accepted as part of a large family for no reason other than their wonderful hospitality.

No comments:

Post a Comment