As promised, here are some photos of me and the girls looking rather glamorous in our Mali clothes:
We all wore them to the wedding on Sunday, which was really amazing. The wedding ceremony took place early in the morning, but we went to the wedding party at the bride’s family’s home around lunchtime:
My inadequate photography doesn’t really capture quite how many people there were at the wedding party – people everywhere, stuffed into every room of the house and then spilling outside onto chairs under a gazebo. It was almost all women. Apparently it’s a given in Mali that women know how to party better than men, so the men go off to chill out and drink tea until all the fuss has died down on such occasions.
So imagine hundreds of Malian women all dressed in beautiful, colourful dresses and skirts, hats and headdresses, crowding out of every corner of this house around a big central space listening to the musicians and the griots. The griots are female singers who are called upon at weddings and other special occasions to entertain and to sing the praises of everyone involved. To a soundtrack of some very energetic drumming courtesy of a group of grinning, chain-smoking guys, they sang, did some spectacular, intricate dancing and generally set the place alight with really joyful music.
It was an incredible atmosphere and felt like a wonderful celebration. Hopefully we contributed to the fun by keeping lots of the other guests amused with our attempts to join in the dancing!
We didn’t, however, get to see the bride who had got married to a soldier. Apparently if you marry a soldier in Mali, straight after the wedding ceremony you get “kidnapped” by the rest of the soldiers and taken to the army base to do military training for the day, which really doesn’t sound like much fun – although I guess it proves that it must be love . . .