A blessing at a Kenyan wedding

David and Juliet got married on Saturday. It was a sweltering hot Nairobi afternoon and the doors of the church were flung open to keep people cool.

Several months have passed since it last rained properly here and the city is gasping. Writing in last week’s Guardian, Xan Rice wrote about the consequences of the drought sweeping across the country:

“In Nairobi, the sight of Masai herders grazing their cows in upmarket suburbs or blocking the highway as their cattle amble across no longer raises eyebrows.”

The reception was under a marquee in the grounds of  the Royal Nairobi Golf Club. As the speeches began the clouds above turned an ominous shade of dark grey. Moments later the rains began.

“Oh dear,” I thought. “That’s a bad omen.” In the West rain on your wedding day – particularly if it has been dry for several months – would be seen as an ominous sign. Some would even call it ironic*.

Not here.

Women uluated. Speeches were peppered with references to the “blessings” which the wedding had brought. It was a happy day.

*They’d be wrong.


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