The weather is calm; natives have gathered at Mzee Ariho Timothy’s home. The women are cooking, everything looks perfect; but the day might end up with some tears as well.
Young men are dressed to kill and the elders have gathered in Mzee’s special hut to negotiate deal that’s about break.
Before l knew it, the young men emerged from the hut hoisting what looked like a stretcher made out of reeds, and on it a young woman.
The girl was all covered up in a Leesu. She’s wailing as her aunties urge her to be a strong lady and embrace her future.
This is the Batwa traditional wedding underway in Bwindi – Buhoma, South Western Uganda.
Simon Tumuhimbise the Chief Executive Officer and Founder at Linkspot Safaris, my guide of the day explained to me what exactly was taking place.
“The first step, a young man seeking marriage has to take is to build a small hut next to his parents’ as a sign to show his adulthood. The young man would then propose to the parents of the girl he is interested in. The Parents of the girl would send the young man to bring a squirrel which is very jumpy and very difficult to hunt,” Tumuhimbise narrated.
This tradition is maintained because from long ago the livelihoods of Batwa depended on hunting and perhaps it was to test the skills of the young man, and his ability to maintain their daughter once they marry her off.
“When the gentleman brought the squirrel as earlier requested by the girl’s parents, they would gladly offer the girl for marriage. The young man would call his fellows to help him carry his new wife to his new hut”.
The celebrations involved lots of traditional singing and dancing.
Huts are actually really comfortable and this is attributed to the materials they are made from. Both clay and grass are good insulators that allow free flow of air.
The huts are majorly constructed out of local materials such as wood, stones, grass, clay and mud.
There would be a grinding stone used to grind millet and ground nuts while in the other corner, a local mortar and a pestle.
There was also a pot of drinking water. The water was cold like that from the fridge.
The bedding was made from long grass well organized with a sack on top which made it look smart but when l tried sleeping on it was pretty uncomfortable.
The newlyweds are then encouraged by the elders to work hard, support one another, have children and live happily ever after.