In a huge celebration, we welcomed the family that would become my sister’s in-laws. My family was gifted, in appreciation as they came in and we danced to our well played Gusii’s musical instrument, the obokano. Immediately after, the guests were led into a tent where the men secluded themselves to discuss bride price. It took about an hour when ululation broke the silence and women from our new family sang and danced. I turned to look at my sister, knowing this was it for her. “They must have reached an agreement,” I said. “Dress up quick. We are officially having a wedding.”
My sister and her husband may be newlyweds, but they sure aren’t new to their marriage. They have lived together and shared the joys and battles that come with it. Three children later, they felt incomplete without paying the dowry. I followed the talks and conversations that did rounds and what I gathered was an assurance that dowry makes all the difference.
My parents were shown respect through this function. In the same way, my brother-in-law’s parents were directed to the home where they got their bride.
My sister was recognised as the wife to the eldest son and as advice was shared with them, I noted the delegation to show respect to her mother-in-law, show an excellent example to the last son’s wife and remember her family. Most of all, she was settled. She was happy that this step placed her firmly in her home. She could now build it with her heart, mind and soul knowing she truly belongs there. Someone even whispered to my ear during one of these talks that she now has a burials spot on their land! This goes on to show the importance of such a ceremony and especially what it means to the African community. In exchange for cows, theirs was a treasure. My sister Edith and her husband Edwin are official, traditionally married. Let’s now hope they seal this deal with the all-powerful wedding.