The Ring

It was a weekday evening and my friend and I were just heading out to buy some milk and eggs from the corner shop. We decided to poke our heads around a corner into a wedding, but this small move, however, turned our whole evening inside out.

We were quickly brought a typical tray of wedding food. There are nearly always hundreds of people at a Sudanese wedding and everyone is served a fizzy drink and a tray of chicken, tamia (falafel), and other nice but simple foods, due to the sheer number of guests.

Soon the bride and groom entered the wedding venue accompanied by ear-piercing music from the band on stage and many people crowding around them. The bride was veiled and so beautiful and her picture was projected on a few screens around the venue, really like a celebrity.

The music, the lights, the stunning female toubs, the playing children, and the energy from the hundreds of guests were overpowering.

Once the newlyweds had reached the stage, many guests started dancing with and around them for a while. Then they went to take their place on grand chairs on the stage where the guests would approach them and offer their congratulations.

Once we could dance no more we sat down and watched everyone still bopping with the typical one-fisted pumping in the air style of dance. I was pulled over to a group of women of all ages and we had a good, long and very funny chat.

The lady in this picture here was the most friendly of them all, and seemed like the ringleader. She wanted me to get the perfect photo of her after adjusting her gorgeous toub and was quite happy with this one.

As I said my goodbyes to this lovely group, her young daughter shoved a silver ring on my finger and as I tried to return it to her she absolutely refused. I was stuck, once again, in the face of absurdly kind Sudanese hospitality and generosity. She was not taking it back, but I wear it every day and am forever reminded of that loud, bright, relatively raucous, happy and warm nighttime scene.

© Gabriella Zoe Harris. All rights reserved.