Tuesday, March 30, 2010

I make it rain!!!

So last Saturday I followed in the footsteps of Will Ferrel and Owen Wilson: I crashed a wedding. Although not sure it counts as wedding crashing when you don't eat any free food or go home with any hot chicks. Oh well.

As the only white person in the room, however, I did follow Wedding Crashers
Rule #7 - Blend in by standing out. [This is mostly for Grant's benefit as he had the WC poster in his room for 2 years].

The wedding was for the niece of one of our nurses, Eleanor. She mentioned in the car on Friday that she was going to a wedding and said that as I had never been to a Malawian wedding, I should stop by. So after debating the awkwardness factor (which was certainly not insignificant as I didn't know the bride and groom and, as the only white guest, would hardly be inconspicuous), I picked up Horace (one of our drivers) and we went to Eleanor's house, picked her up and went to the wedding.

Well, not the actual wedding. The wedding reception. Which in Malawi consists of the bridal party dancing down the aisle to a set of ornately festooned couches. The whole thing is narrated by a shockingly loud DJ who then proceeds to call up certain groups of people to dance with and throw money at the bride and groom. And perhaps I should use the term barker instead of DJ because this isn't just some symbolic gesture: there are cashiers that collect and count the money (as well as break larger bills for people who came unprepared) and the barker gets 10% of what is collected. Eleanor told me that sometimes they can pull in somewhere on the order of K100,000 (about $666 dollars). Given that most people throw 20 or 50 kwacha notes, it takes a lot of charm and insistence on the part of the barker to get people to pony up.

He eventually asks everyone to get up (no matter how many times you've already been called up) and throw money and this is called Pelicani (not sure about the spelling on that one). 

I think that we should import this custom without delay. Except that we should throw money at students who have just graduated from college and are abut to incur massive debt thanks to medical school. Who's in?

Here is an incredibly blurry picture of the money throwing. Before you judge my photography skills, keep in mind I was dancing and making it rain (translation for moms: throwing money) at the same time:

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