Thursday, 05 November 2009

The Wedding Show

No, not the one on TV, but hopefully, a final rant about money. First, a disclaimer: God, please understand that I’m grateful for the opportunities you’ve given me, so please don’t take this as a complaint. I feel like I'm financilly responsible, and this post is about that. OK, I understand I should give more......but IMVHO, not for weddings! This is not out of pride but what I feel to be inconsiderate requests for money. So, shall we?

OD had one up some time ago about weddings and exploitation. I don’t publicly express my opinion about wedding committees and harambees/pre-wedding ‘parties’ for fear of losing friends, but what the heck, I will say it on blogger, I don’t approve! Juzi a colleague brought me an invitation card to be part of her wedding planning meetings that take every Thursday beginning last week till the first week of Dec. With a wedding budget to boot. The budget came to around UGX 12m, ,excluding attire for the bride, groom, page boy, flower girl and rings. I’m told this is on the lower side. I honestly felt that she was a bit inconsiderate, seeing as is it is that we haven’t known each other for six months, and they have been living together for some years. I skipped the first meeting on Thursday last week but told her jana that ‘I can’t come, but will give you what I can afford’. She was very nice and said she’ll appreciate what comes from the heart. I was tempted to say my heart is a blood-pumping organ and not a wallet nor a bank account. But social correctness dictates otherwise. I’m still debating what exact amount to give her, but honestly, it won’t be beyond a certain amount I’m too embarrassed to put on here. Call me tight-fisted. Or whatever. I digress: my place of work is a place to make money not spend it. OK, I won’t complain for when people lose relas, but when people leave, shouldn’t we just go to some place, eat, buy drinks, etc and pay instead of coughing up UGX 20,000K per person every time? I suggested the former but someone said contributing 20,000K each is more of team-work. I think it’s more of communism. Especially because I don’t like the taste of beer and think it’s unfair to order wine when the bill is split equally among all the drinkers.

Back on topic. Flash back to sometime early this year. Buddy from Nbi and I had some plans to do income-generating activities (NGO-speak, go figure) together but none of us really followed up, so I guess that particular idea died. July this year, dude calls me and says long time! Have you seen my email? We need to catch up with the plans! I say, I’m out of reach by email, will get back to you nikishasoma. Buddy calls me later, and I say, no, sijasoma niko mbali bado. And later. And then says, I can as well just tell you the content of the email over the phone. Which was: his small father (paternal uncle younger than his biological father) was admitted in hosi, needed lots of dough, his friends including those abroad and the area MP were meeting some evening etc. I think that’s the right point to ask for financial help. As in to save the victims life, not to bury them. To cut the story short, when sending my mum her monthly allowance (yes, that’s how we roll, not the other way round), I ask her to M-Pesa Buddy some small amount, which she did but he didn’t acknowledge until I called to ask if he got the money? Well, he later acknowledges receipt via an email to say thank you, and there is a harambee to clear the hospital bill.

Week of October 17th. I’m in matatu, just passing through industrial area on my way to work. Buddy calls to say long time and have I read his email? I say, not yet, will read nikifika job and get back. So I come and the email says just that: long time, we need to catch up. Buddy catches up with me via chat and informs me he is going to see his future in-laws on 17th October, and then they will know when the wedding will be. Please pray for me and give me moral support and assist me in any other way that God will help you. So I promise to pray. I actually think it’s not culturally right to ask a mama for money to pay dowry. Well, he didn’t ask for money; I could have interpreted ‘any other way’ the wrong way.

Then jana. I catch up with Buddy on chat and ask how did the the ruracio go? He says, very well, in fact I should send you videos when they are out. After the niceties I ask when’s the wedding? 28th this month, I have asked the secretary to send invitation cards and I understand he hasn’t sent them: you are invited. Why don’t you stand by me at this time of need? Can you be part of my planning committee? I say, well, I’m in UG and wasn’t planning on travelling to +254 before Dec, so, sadly, I may not even make the weddo. Reply: the meetings are virtual, by sms and email only. At this point I want to say, cut the chase and use plain Gikuyu....ureenda mbeca cigana? But you see, I’m getting better by the day at being diplomatic. So eventually, I say, well, that’s a bit of a short notice on my side (he says 3 weeks is sufficient, in fact, that’s the regular time interval to invite people for a wedding. I think he forgets he’s asking me to be part of the committee). I can’t really make it, especially because it comes in with less than a month to the weddo, halafu it’s also within the same month (translation: yenyewe I’ve already spent some of my November money and don’t think this is a reasonable enough request to disrupt my budgetary plans for the rest of November).

Guys, weddings rarely, actually never, come by surprise. I imagine people know they’ll have a wedding at least several months before the date. Let’s stop abusing the harambee spirit. What’s wrong with having as much wedding as you can afford, really? See, I don’t think I’m going to be part of the crowd of friends and family contributing 350K when you have 300K when you could have been married with 13K after ‘buying’ the wife, aka paying dowry. I'd hate to be the one raising the money but not being invited for the wedding. An expensive wedding doesn’t make you any more married than a cheap one, much the same way a cheap funeral makes doesn’t make you any less dead. School fees and medical emergencies I will understand, but a weddo, please! Am seriously probably not going to give anyone else money for a wedding. (Hey you, hope this hasn’t made you change your mind about 20th Dec, si ndiyo?-or is it au sio?)Nitakuja bridal shower,baby shower, etc.

To use OD’s friends words, it’s your responsibility and if you can’t afford a wedding, please consider putting off the marriage coz marriage is more expensive than a wedding.


Daniel Ngari said...

Yet another post that makes me keep reading your blog on Kenya Unlimited. Keep it up pkw.

coldturkey said...

Phew! Please don't just tell it on the blog. Tell it around coz they won't hear me. You got those words from my mouth. People, pay for your own wedding, with what you have. Even 5soc does it kwa AG. They tell me no one will come to my wedding. Well if parents and real friends and most importantly my bride, are there, I'm good. If anything people you don't know are just crowds.

odegle said...

O so true!

KR said...

LOL. - your managed to translate 'baba mdogo' to 'small father':)

I was itching to comment from the first paragraph.

Asking for contributions for weddings when one has been working for the last 3-5 years is really irresponsible. Ati someone asks ladies to 'kuracia' for them. If I were the bride-to-be I would be offended :)

Asking for money for School fees - Understandable but you give birth to the number of kids you can take care of. Period.

For hospital bills - I will contribute but first am I your closest relative and if not what are your close relatives doing about it??

For funerals - well this is sad so 'token' giving is done.

Basically please keep posting on this. I think you might have inspired a post from me on this. :)

PKW said...

Daniel Ngari: Thanks, I was over at yours and liked it so much that I added you to my reading list.
Coldturkey: For a moment I confused you with coldtusker. But you know how hard it is to say some of these things in person.
Odegle: Thanks for starting it!
KR: LOL, yes, baba munyinyi. Hebu please do a post. We need to ease out of some of these habits.

Anonymous said...

Yaani that whole wedding thing really has you worked up! Almost all of us go through this kind of thing at least once a year!
Nice to hear you rant and rave...Brings out the best of a true PKW.

Cee said...

PKW ukweli kabisa, this mambo of people trying to get their wedo on tv so they stress everyone they know to pay for an extravangant wedo got to stop. That pall of yours better style up, how does he only contact you when he needs money? Sometimes Kenyans are just a pain, especially when they think just because you don't live within the Kenyan border you should have money raining on you. They will write you an email to tell you all their problems as if you don't have your own and those emails never even start with greetings to know if you are alive.....arrrrggghhh tabia zingine...

PKW said...

Raymondchepkwony: Imagine I was mad for real. Ati at least once a year? Si that would mean 'wedding contributions' has to feature on your monthly budget? Not right!
Cee: You put it just right. Granted, I'm a multimillionaire (LOL 1Ksh~25UGX), but imagine I have needs, too?

kellie said...

True. We should come to your wedding to celebrate with you, not to eat in an effort to recoup the investment we've made to make it happen.