A mzungu attends a Ugandan Gusaba


It was no surprise to any of us when my brother-in-law got engaged to Faith. They were together for, like, forever. Faith became a member our family long ago. James and Faith are really cool people — when you get to be old like me, there are people you wish you would hang out with more often, but just don’t. You don’t because being old means you spend your days doing inane daily errands, and you end up too tired or busy or too far away or whatever. James and Faith are definitely in that subset of people I know that I wish we could hang out with more.

James is from Maine. Faith is of Rwandan ancestry, and grew up in Uganda with her family. James and Faith met in California. It blows my mind how many little random coincidences had to line up perfectly for the two of them to even find each other.

Faith’s family still lives in Uganda, and so it was only fitting that she have a Ugandan-style ceremony in her home country. Fortunately for us, our family was invited to attend!

The kids settle in for 20 hours of flight time.

Getting to Uganda

Flights to Uganda are unsurprisingly long. We opted to fly through Dubai — so it was almost 13 hours from Boston to Dubai, and then another 5.5 hours from Dubai to Uganda’s main airport, Entebbe (the Dubai airport is probably worthy of its own blog post). The Gusaba ceremony was to take place at a resort hotel in Entebbe the day after we arrived, so we relaxed by the pool and got a good night’s sleep before the big day.

####Okay, so I thought this was a wedding — what is a Gusaba?

A gusaba is an “introduction ceremony.” Normally, it would happen days or even weeks before the formal wedding that often takes place in a church. The introduction ceremony is where the groom’s family asks the bride’s family for permission to marry — in Rwandan tradition, a wedding represents a marriage of two families as well as two people.