In a world where difference is really not celebrated, I have felt incredibly honoured this month to attend 2 wedding related events for people who, in this society, are classed as ‘unmarriageble’.
Stephano is a disabled man, who runs a workshop for young adults with a range of disabilities, providing them with a 2 year training in some form of craft skill and basic literacy and numeracy. Most disabled children, if not killed at birth, are basically left with very little input and very little chance of getting anywhere in life. Stephano’s parents were more forward thinking and looked past his severely deformed arm and leg to give him a good education and a belief in himself.
His new bride, Aphina, is his childhood sweetheart from the village he grew up in and has also managed to see and grow to love the man behind the disability.
I don’t think I’ve seen a happier face on anyone than Stephano arriving at his wedding reception!
Grace, is a friend of Mama Wini, who I met a couple of years ago and invited me to share her sendoff. As an albino her chance of reaching adulthood are lower than others (due to the high price still offered by some witchdoctors for the limbs of albino children), her chances of attaining higher education are lower (partly due to the health problems associated with the condition leading to long absences and partly due to stigma) and her chances of marrying, let alone marrying a black Tanzanian are almost unheard of. So the fact that Grace had done all of this and is now in a very good managerial job for Under the Same Sun, an organisation that promotes equality and quality of life for albinos, is amazing.
She’d dyed her white hair bright pink to go with her ballgown…..and looked glorious!
By coincidence the MC for the sendoff was the same one that I’d seen a couple of years ago (see ‘What a SendOff!) and, in amongst the rest of the danceoffs, she called up every white person whether Wazungus (westerners) or albinos to all come up and dance together in the middle before everyone else joined in. To get a feel for our song and the joy of the event, download the song ‘I Know Who I Am’ by Sinach.
Take a look at me. I’m a wonder
It doesn’t matter what you see now
Can you see His glory?
For I know who I am