Saturday, 30 March 2013

The Bride Price

An African wedding actually begins when the groom (via the bride's family members - never directly) asks her father for her hand. Eventually, the OK is passed back down the chain and groom and father sit down to negotiate a "bride price" to be paid by the groom. Additional fines charged if the she is already pregnant!  

Following the payment of the bride price, an optional church wedding & reception may occur after several months. Caroline, an MMED (3rd year IM resident -- out of 5!), and I attended this wedding reception of another classmate.

After the ceremony and pictures, the bridal party is introduced dancing into the reception tent. I fell in love with the Zambian pop song by Mampi, to which they are dancing.    

The MC coordinates speeches, jokes, dancing, and the delivery of gifts. The gifts here are striking. There is no registry. You do not request "No boxed gifts." In fact, your large (bigger the better) household appliance is lugged to the wedding site, put on display for all to see, and then carried before the bride and groom while giving a speech and congratulating them. If you get 3 microwaves, too bad!

Caroline organized her co-residents to each pitch in $40 to purchase this washing machine and gas stove.

Children were out playing with the clown or bouncing in the "jumping castle."

The bridal party, in this wedding, changed their clothes to perform another funky dance to this popular Nigerian song. They went on to perform 3 total dances in between the distribution of the gifts/speeches. Simultaneously, plates of meat, rice, salad were delivered to each guest; there were probably 300. People moved freely in and out in any degree of formal or informal clothing. The whole affair is quite relaxed, except for the part where the MC pointed me out "Ladies and gentleman, we have an Indian here!" and later danced with me in front of the whole crowd!

Friday, 29 March 2013


Is it still considered a zoo if there are >1000 acres (protected) and the animals feed on their own? These are "game parks" and have nothing to do with hunting. This is where I met mbizi = zebra.

Vegan animals! Eland (above), a large antelope. Giraffes, tall/dark male and shorter/lighter female. Impala (below) antelope in female harem, but can't spot single male leader.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Milton Park B&B aka Home sweet Home

The B&B where I am staying is cared for by a pleasant Shona woman, Jaldine, and gardner/cook/helping hand, Lovemore. Both greet me upon arrival with uninhibited laughter and positivity as they showed me to my room.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

En route

I almost missed the flight as I wandered through the small city of the Dubai airport in a maze to get to the gate. The flights to sub-saharan Africa (expect Johannesburg) are stuck in the back of the airport. I had to go up 3 huge flights of stairs, and then down another 3 to get to the bus that took me around the airport to an outdoor staircase up into the plane. I was the last one on! I doubt a US or UK flight would ever require this... Subtle prejudice. We also were sprayed with ?pesticide before departure. 

No where on my ticket was Zambia mentioned, yet the flight stopped here in Lusaka. So much for a "direct" flight. Again with the pesticide before take off. 

Thankfully, I was actually on the correct flight and made it to Harare as the sun set. The air is warm and fresh, negligible humidity, and everyone around is smiling and relaxed.

Monday, 25 March 2013


Flying Emirates to Zimbabwe via Dubai. Got to spend night touring city, including Burj Khalifa - the tallest city in the world.
Jumeirah Grand Mosque.  The city is full of lights, opulence, and elegance.
 Got feet wet in the Arabian sea under the full moon.
Random indoor aquariums, including at Aquarius hotel. Why not.
Architectural design pervades every edifice in Dubai; take this public bus stop designed to enclose air conditioning.
Or the Dubai airport...a small city unto itself.