Wednesday, January 31, 2007

“Where is madam?”


January 31, 2007

Kumasi

Without fanfare and very little ado Graeme and I are now married. No worries for you wedding aficionados out there (Nancy -- we promised we wouldn’t elope!), it’s an unofficial title only. Although for just a few thousand cedis (a few toonies and loonies) we could have made it official, at least on African soil, by tying the knot in a side-of-the-road shack in Accra a couple of weeks back. Unfortunately or fortunately, depending how you look at it, the woman inside the small house was asleep when we wandered by.

We’ve both found it much easier, and I more so than Graeme, to simply say we’re married. Husband meet wife, wife meet husband and ta-dah we’re McEstabrooks.

In Ghana, ones title, or one’s status speaks volumes. Being a ‘married woman’ has its advantages as does being a man who is seen to have enough riches to first court then marry and provide for a woman.

Being Graeme’s wife in Ghana has its definite perks. I can now tell him to use his sweat rag in public, I can chat with strange men and then shut them up by simply flashing my left hand where I’m wearing the Celtic claddagh ring he gave me last year, and I can also demand that he dispose of the huge cockroach that invaded our room last night.

The drawbacks… Number one, he sweats a lot, non-stop actually. He consumes water and literally as he’s drinking it I can see it coming out of his pores. Any bit of exertion means sweating here; for Graeme it means he has to change his shirt.

Number two, now that he’s part of my family he’s now included in my daily greeting ritual with some of my colleagues. A daily Ghanaian greeting includes a litany of questions first about your health, what you’ve eaten, how your sleep was, and then a similar roster of questions for all those in your family. I make sure to say Graeme has eaten and slept well as to fulfill the expectations of a dutiful wife in Ghana.

Speaking of duties, Graeme and I are revolutionizing how food is cooked at the compound where we’re living. One of the men who works/lives here asked Graeme this evening where I was, and why I wasn’t the one in the kitchen preparing the dinner. Graeme explained that we shared the cooking and the cleaning. Bismark nodded politely, commented he’d like a similar arrangement with his future wife and then admitted he did all of it by himself right now.

The Canadian ceremony is still a go in 2008. In the meantime we’re both enjoying married life in Africa! (Guess we need to learn each other’s blood types and our sickle cell counts, judging by the signs for betrothed couples about town.) T.

1 comment:

Jeffrey said...

Breif explanations like -"We're married" go a long way to moving conversations along. I can imagine the repetitive agony of explaining the engagement stuff to every second person. Does Graeme enjoy the use of a marriage symbol like Trish's ring? I'm sure, depite the sweat, that Graeme will be flattered and embarrasement by more than one on-the-spot marriage proposal while in Kumasi.