Wednesday, January 13, 2016


We had been warned ahead of time that there would be no henna at this henna party. That would come later. Originally, these parties were gatherings for everyone to see the bride and groom getting their wedding henna applied, but eventually the brides must have grown tired of having to sit perfectly still for hours on end, while the henna was applied and then waiting for it to dry, when everyone else was having so much fun at these intimate (compared to the actual weddings) gatherings of their nearest and dearest. Now they do it separately, and closer to the wedding, so it doesn't have time to fade.

We arrived back at Habooba's house promptly at 8:00PM, the official start time, and I almost didn't recognize the place!

The entire three-story house had been draped with strands of twinkle lights, and the street beside it had been closed off and filled with a massive purple party tent. Areej loves purple!

When we stepped inside and discovered that we were the only ones there, other than the workmen who were still setting up speakers and video screens, I finally understood what Elsa attempted to explain the day before -- about doing things the Sudanese way, where being the "punctual" type, who loves making plans and schedules, is not necessarily an asset. Which is why they end every statement regarding future plans with inshallah or mashallah -- reminders that things are in God's hands, not ours.

My Boys
Almost immediately, however, the uncles appeared to make us feel welcome, entertaining us until more people arrived and the music began. It wasn't long before the party was in full swing, with wall-to-wall people and tables filled with platters of roasted lamb, fried chicken, something that resembled a flying-saucer-shaped-hushpuppy (falafel?) and all sorts of yumminess. And, of course, there was singing and dancing!

Areej's father made sure Hubby was one of the first ones out on the dance floor, and taught him the difference between greeting and acknowledging or honoring a person on the dance floor (one arm raised towards that person, while snapping one's fingers to the beat) as they are doing here with the wonderful singer, and just plain dancing (clapping along with the music).

Hubby's not used to being the center of attention!
The Uncles Take To The Floor
The Uncles honor Habooba when she joins them on the dance floor.
I wish you could have seen Habooba in action. The woman is about 90, but she has more energy than all the women in my family combined. She had an eye on everything that went on that evening, and there was no doubt in anyone's mind, who was in charge!

After Areej made her grand entrance, and she and Austin took to the dance floor, it became a total mob scene, with five or six photographers following them at all times, and with some of the photos being displayed on screens mounted around the tent. Unfortunately, that meant I never got close enough to catch a good picture of them myself! Hopefully I will get some of the professional shots later, which I can share with you. Oh, and remember what I said earlier about everyone in Sudan having an i-phone? Well, there were a ton of photos being snapped on those as well. Even selfies!

The Fashion Girls!
Areej has three adorable cousins on her mother's side. That's the two youngest ones in the picture above. Their father is the one who made our entry and exit through the airport such a breeze, and arranged the lovely hotel for us.  Anyhoo, seeing these girls, and what they were wearing, was the highlight of each event. They always had custom made dresses made out of coordinating fabrics, which were similar to one another, but not quite the same. And you never saw them in the same thing twice. I asked Areej if they would be able to reuse these amazing ensembles for some of cousin Omar's wedding events, which would begin immediately after Areej's and Austin's ended. She said "Oh no! They will have all new outfits for each of those parties, and there will be twice as many!"

I also loved hanging out with these guys, three of the Five Musketeers, who were always entertaining. I do believe they're taking a selfie!

Areej's oldest brother Amin, youngest brother Amjad, and cousin Ahmed.
Just as I was about to run out of steam, the party abruptly ended, with everyone leaving all at once. How on earth did they manage that? Well, it seems there is a curfew of sorts in Khartoum, and no one is supposed to be out on the streets past midnight.

The Two Daddies
I dropped into bed as soon as we got back to the hotel, and was out like a light!

1 comment:

Corrine at said...

What an amazing experience for you all. xox