What is with the “thank you for not shaming me” thingy at marriage ceremonies? You know, when the bride goes on her knees and thanks the groom for not shaming her, by not showing up for THEIR marriage ceremony.
This is on my mind. I think it is a symptom of deep rooted misogyny that goes on in the daily lives of most or if not all homesteads in Uganda. Yes, in this day and age, women are still shamed and feel ashamed if they do not “manage to find a man – as in husband.” It is better to be in a bad marriage than not marry at all, the warped logic goes.
Fathers and male relatives say hurtful things to their daughters. They think it is okay to criticize their unmarried daughters as failures. Mothers and female relatives do so too. “How is she smart or successful, when she has failed to get married”, the pointed words are dished out casually. This is sometimes done in the presence of an audience – family members, clan members, strangers – who encourage the evil one to continue the torments.
In moments like this the powerful advise from FLOTUS Michelle Obama become even more poignant.
Our hope that if we work hard enough and believe in ourselves, then we can be whatever we dream, regardless of the limitations that others may place on us… You hear me young people? Don’t be afraid.
If he shames you by not showing up for your marriage ceremony, be thankful for you are the better off. Good riddance to bad rubbish. Don’t be afraid. If a male in your life expresses negative sentiments about your unmarried status, know that he is the ignorant evil one. Don’t be afraid to do your best to go high; don’t let him drag you low. Don’t be afraid.
Oh, the lady in the picture inspired me to no end. We were returning from the burial of our mother-in-marriage and we made a stop in Busembatia in Eastern Uganda to purchase rice. All my siblings got out of the car and I stayed seated in the car. The lady in the picture came to me and made a very powerful sale. So even though we had already bought loads of tamarind, I bought hers too.
Even when I initially told her that we had already bought tamarind she sat down and insisted that nevertheless I should just let her greet me properly. After the greeting, we conversed during which she explained to me why she was hawking tamarind. She needed to be able to buy salt and paraffin. If I bought tamarind from her at a thousand shillings, she would use 400 hundred to buy the salt and will have enough for paraffin as well.
Her most powerful line was: “Do you know silver fish my child? Without salt it is near impossible to eat them and it is all that we can afford to eat these days.” I caved and bought her tamarind. And I thought despite all the troubles she is going through, she is working hard, believing in herself and she is not afraid.