Monday, March 10, 2008

I love weekends!

Friday started with some serious self-indulgence. I went out to dinner with a bunch of mazungus to the fanciest restaurant in Kitwe. Nearly broke the bank, but do you know what was amazing?!?!!? Chicken Masala without the bone. A boneless chicken breast is SCARCE in Zambia, so I savored each little bite (sorry veggie friends). We were celebrating the two Norwegian girls, Kristen and Ida, who finished their final paper and will soon be returning to Norway to graduate from University. These girls are hilarious and think that I am especially weird (they’ve never met a young female minister that drinks an occasional gin and tonic and talks about men and literature and pop culture and all the other “normal topics”).

On Saturday I took them to their first kitchen party where my wonderful TEEZ coworkers donned bright chetenge and their typical glamorous smiles as we laughed and ate and sang and danced. My favorite dance comes from the Eastern Province and it begins with dancers on their knees, heads bowed. I paid the drummers (standard), wrapped a chetenge around my waist, got down on my knees (Edna from work has been teaching me), and began the dance. One woman was so excited to see me dancing she ran over and jumped up and down shouting, “A muzungu that was raised in Chipata!!” I am definitely learning, but these women make me laugh: they are far too complimentary. This white girl has got NOTHING. You would never believe what these women can do with their hips.

This is the bride pictured with her chimbusa (her teacher who has been preparing her for marriage over the last 6 months). Notice that her face is kind of “pale”? Women here are into this whitening paste they smear all over their beautiful brown skin. I hate it.

Brides keep their heads bowed through the whole kitchen party as a sign of respect. The bride enters the room on her hands and knees and is completely covered until her future in-laws remove her veil, confirming that this is the right woman (to avoid a Leah/Rachel situation). Christian kitchen parties usually begin with a lively message about submission, which generally makes me gag. This is the last subject that needs to be reiterated in this patriarchal culture! I always tell my co-workers, “Good thing they don’t ask ME to preach!” The Norwegian girls made the mistake of revealing the fact that they do not go to church and my co-workers hassled them, in outrage, for the rest of the afternoon.

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