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TEM Lab - Fall, 2017
Written by Team Ubuntu (Rachel An, Craig Pearson, Fungai Mandanza)
Last week, we promised you a wedding. And a wedding you shall have…
We were so lucky and privileged that in just our second weekend in Ado-Ekiti, we were invited to a wedding! We were starting to make some good progress with our project of helping to develop a strategy for setting up an incubator for the Centre for Entrepreneurial Development and Vocational Studies (hereafter CEDVS) at the Federal Polytechnic, Ado-Ekiti.
We soon found out that the Polytechnic was a nucleus of the community. Everything seems to revolve around the campus and its activities. The son of the Deputy Director of Training for the CEDVS, Mr. Samuel Ajibade, and the daughter of the Registrar General of the Federal Polytechnic, Miss Antonia Adediran, were to be joined in traditional and holy matrimony. And YES, you guessed it, we had a VIP pass to this joyous celebration.
Weddings in Nigeria are a big deal and since this was the joining of two families of community leaders, it had to be over the top. It was a 2-day event. Friday was the traditional marriage ceremony. In preparation for this day we had outfits made. A gold gown for Fungai, a blue traditional mermaid dress for Rachel, and a colorful Ghana print shirt for Craig…. It was going to be LIT!
The Ajibade family was to pay a bride price to the Adediran family. This is a well known engagement tradition practiced throughout Africa, when the groom pays an appreciation fee to the bride’s family. The event was colorful, lots of singing praises and food. Oh yes, the food… You could smell the rich hot pepper soup miles away from the venue. There were no invitations for this day, but nevertheless, three hundred people showed up for the ceremony and many had to wait outside because they couldn’t fit in the events ballroom…or the hallway…or the lobby… you get the gist.
The second day was the “western,” white wedding. I am sure we counted more than 500 people inside alone – all dressed to the nines in their beautifully colorful and vibrant traditional attire. Everyone was up and dancing from the very young to the very old as the bride and groom came forward, as did the mother of the bride. It was at this point in the wedding that we put our dancing shoes on and joined in the celebrations. Rachel really made an impression, as she became a victim of “spraying” – a Nigerian custom where people throw money towards you as a sign of appreciation or admiration of your dance moves!
When the Yoruba people do things, they do it big. The wedding became the talk of the town all week and served as an ice breaker for our meetings. As much as we have fallen in love with Ado-Ekiti, we have to move on. We will be taking the party to Lagos! We cannot wait to see the adventures we have in store for us there, so stay tuned.