Peace & Rick Traditional Marriage

On Saturday August 23rd, 2014, two weeks and a day after our formal civil ceremony at the Registrar in Accra, Peace and I celebrated our traditional marriage.


Peace had numerous family members in attendance: her mother Grace Ntim, her sister Veronica and brother Emmanuel from Kasoa, her niece Maggie and husband Edem from Ho, brother Mensah from Wusuta in Volta Region and aunts and uncles. Cousin Charles did the prayers and blessings and other cousins from Takoradi were in attendance.

It was just too much to ask my Canadian family to come. Not only is the trip from British Columbia expensive, it demands many weeks of preparation for shots and visa. All this on top of the fears being raised by the recent Ebola outbreak in West Africa. So my “family” consisted of my band mate Brian of Still No Sleep Til Osu and some close friends in STHEYA (our Roman Catholic church group).

Preparing the Food and Drinks

Ghanaian weddings are typically large affairs. Ours, with about 200 people, was relatively modest, but still there was much work to get ready.

The event was catered by our friend Ajowa Biardi at her home (and the home of her husband Andrea, my old Esoko boss). Peace and I dropped by at eight in the morning to see if everything was ready.

Peace, her cousin and auntie.

When we arrived the guys were still erecting the awnings and garland. Ajowa and her girls were busy in the back cooking the last of the lunch items. As usual, Peace wasn’t worried and I was.

Preparing food in the back.

Chicken on the grill.

While preparations continued in the back, Mensah and I filled the coolers of beer and minerals in the kitchen with ice.

Ajowa chops the vegetables.

People Are Arriving

By ten AM people began filing in. And, as Peace had predicted, everything was in good order.

Here comes Julie. She will represent me in the coming family meeting.

Our good friends Yvonne and Priscilla arrive. Yvonne wheels in the bride's suit case containing some of the items on the bride's list.

Here come Justine and Nancy with more items for the brides list.

You can always count on STHEYA to pitch in. Especially when beer is involved ;-)

We’re Finally Underway

The ceremony started just after eleven AM with an exchange of greetings between representatives of the bride’s and groom’s families. The representative are called okyeames in the Akan language.

Peace's okyeame, Beatrice, hams it up. Does the groom realize what a prize he has found in Peace?

My okyeame, Julie, informs the gathered that the groom's side has surely brought all the items on the bride's list.

Julie brandishes the bride's list as William looks on.

Okyeame Beatrice acts skeptical.

Julie explains what's in the suit case.

Okyeame Beatrice tests the weight of the suit case to ensure we're not cheating.

The bride's side, Mensah, auntie and three uncles, looks on.

In addition to the two bottles of schnaps that had been gift-wrapped, the groom was asked to provide other beer and liquor, yards of cloth (for making dresses), six pairs of panties, a bible, numerous other items which escape me at the moment plus the rings and a cash contribution to the bride’s immediate family.

Peace's brother Mensah accepts his cash contribution.

Meanwhile, Out of Sight

While the okyeames are doing their thing with the assembled guests, the bride and groom are hidden away in the house, out of sight. Peace is still getting ready but I’m done and nervously waiting to be called.

I peeked out the window to see what was happening.

Antoinette is busy putting the finishing touches on Peace's face.

Peace gets her hair ready.

Almost done.

Peace gets sprayed.

Ajowa drops into our hiding spot to see if Peace is ready.

Time to Fetch the Groom

At laaaaaast. William fetches me from the hide-away.

William asks if I'm ready. Yes!

Here we come!

Hello everyone! I'm happy the waiting is over!

Did I say I was happy?.

Great to see so many friendly STHEYA faces.

Flanked by Beatrice on my right and Julie on my left. Beatrice asks why I'm here.

The groom's side cheers me on.

Here Comes the Bride!

After putting me on the spot enough to satisfy the on-lookers it was Peace’s turn.

Here comes the bride with her entourage. Okyeame Beatrice leads the way.

Here comes the bride. Peace carries a bowl of candies to dispense

Here comes the bride. Sister Veronica is by her side

Here comes the bride. Peace greets the crowd.

Here comes the bride. Preparing to throw the candy.

Here comes the bride.

Here comes the bride.

Here comes the bride.

Here comes the bride.

Here comes the bride.

Here comes the bride.

Here comes the bride.

Here comes the bride.

Here comes the bride.

Hey! There's the woman I love!

Love you more. No I love you more!

Good wishes from WIlliam as we are about to begin.

This Is It!

The two okyeames seal the deal. Peace and I are good to go.

Ladies and gentlemen: the bride and groom...

The Couple Receive Advice on Married Life

Brian Conklin: 'Love is patient, love is kind.'

It was wonderful to see Dawn smiling from my family side.

Two Families Become One

Peace and I are ready.

Pastor Charles asks for God's blessing on our union.

The guests join in wishing us God's blessings.

The guests join in wishing us God's blessings. Thank you one and all!

The guests join in wishing us God's blessings.

The guests join in wishing us God's blessings.

Pastor Charles gives his blessing to the bride and groom.

Pastor Charles gives his blessing to the bride and groom.

Rick and Peace listen to Pastor Charles.

I give the rings Charles.

First the engagement ring. Then the wedding ring.

Charles explains the significance of the ring as a symbol of everlasting love and commitment.

Charles displays the rings.

Charles directs me to put the engagement ring on Peace's finger.

We have been waiting for this moment for almost three years.

There you are.

The engagement ring.

Rick embraces Peace. I will always love you.

Charles explains the significance of the wedding bible: this book should guide us through our married life together.

Charles presents the bible to me.

And I present the bible to Peace.

Now the marriage can be done.

The wedding ring. With this ring...

Husband and wife embrace.

Hey! We did it!

Hey! We did it!

Yes we did.

Pastor Charles congratulates the bride and groom.

A hug for the bride.

Charles is so happy for his cousin Peace.

A hug from sister Veronica.

Peace's big sister Veronica with her new brother-in-law.

A hug for Peace from her 'Accra sister' Mercy.

Peace's mother Grace Ntim, Veronica and me.

Peace and Mercy.

Peace and Mercy.

The Families

The Bride’s Side

Peace's mother Grace Ntim.

Peace's Honorary Father (her mother's cousin).

Peace's uncle on her father's side.

Peace's aunt and uncle on her mother's side.

Pastor Cousin Charles

Auntie & Uncle.

Veronica and Mercy. Thank you ladies!

Peace's brother Mensa and Uncle and Auntie

Peace with her cousin Comfort.

Sister Veronica on the right

Peace's Takoradi niece Edem helped out at the Canteen during the summer months.

Edem's sister.

Edem's sister.

Edem's sister and others.

The Takoradi kids.

The Takoradi kids.

The Groom’s Side

As I already mentioned, none of my Canadian family were able to attend. My side was amply filled by my friends Dawn and Brian Conklin and many friends from our church group St. Theresa’s Youth Association, STHEYA.

William Laast, Justine, Dawn and Brian in the groom's front row.

Dawn and Brian Conklin sat in as my mom and dad.

William and Justine.

My STHEYA friends helped to fill in the groom's side. Here are my friends Fred and Bill with another STHEYA friend.

Pictures with the Bride and Groom

Peace, Rick and son Kofi. Hey! He borrowed my band gig hat!

PKR!

Peace and Kofi. That's her boy!

With Peace's mother, Honorary Father, uncles and aunt.

With 'daughter' Maggie, her husband Edem and sister Veronica.

With Peace's brother Mensah, sister Veronica, and Peace's cousin.

With Mercy and Vero.

With Peace's 'son-in-law' Edem and her brother Emmanuel.

With Peace's sisters, Mercy and Veronica..

With Peace's siblings and cousins.

Peace and Rick with Atta and Vero.

Peace and Rick with Dawn and Brian.

With the brides family.

With Peace's old-time friends. Brian and Dawn snuck in.

With Peace's CSIR work mates.

With STHEYA. They turned out in their numbers!

With Rick's boss, Esoko CTO Chetan Seth and his wife and Esoko colleague Vani Holla.

With Rick's Esoko Tech Department friends.

With Rick's Esoko Tech Department friends.

With Rick's old-time Esoko work-mates, Peter, Delali, Dine and Eugenia.

With Peace's nieces and nephews.

With Peace's son Kofi and his chums.

With Peace's CSIR friend Nana Essie.

With Peace's old girl friends.

Rick and Peace with ??

Peace and Rick with STHEYA friends Bash and ??

Peace and Rick with Doris and sister Essie.

Peace and Rick with Doris and sister Essie.

Peace and Rick with friends and neighbours from our compound.

The Bride and Groom

I could lose myself in those eyes!

Peace and Rick in the after-glow.

Peace and Rick.

Peace and Rick.

Peace and Rick.

Peace and Rick. I'm never letting go.

Peace and Rick.

Peace and Rick.

Peace and Rick.

Peace and Rick.

Peace and Rick.

Peace and Rick.

Peace and Rick.

Just the Bride

Peace was just glowing on the big day.

Peace. How many ways can I say beautiful?

Peace is gorgeous.

Peace is ravishing.

Peace is smashing!

Peace looks marvelous.

Peace strikes a pose.

Peace strikes a pose.

Peace strikes a pose.

Peace strikes a pose.

Peace strikes a pose.

Peace strikes a pose.

Peace strikes a pose.

Peace strikes a pose.

Pictures With the Bride

Peace and Barbara.

Peace with her niece Maggie.

Peace with her niece Maggie.

Peace with her cousin and niece Maggie.

Peace with Doris and sister Essie.

Peace, cousin Comfort, her husband Sammy and the two girls.

Peace with her cousin.

Peace with ??

Peace and ??

Peace with Fuasti's Mom.

Peace with Justine, Nancy and Bernadette.

Vida and Peace with a friend..

Pictures With the Groom

Hey! Even I didn't look too bad.

The tailor made a fantastic dress for the occasion. Macbruce wanted me to take his confession ;-).

Son Kofi and Rick. A fine young man

Hellooo my son!.

With my surrogate 'Mom and Dad, Dawn and Brian Conklin.

With fellow Esoko Systems Team member Nii Nai.

Rick, Chetan, Vani.

Let’s Eat!

Cynthia directs traffic at the buffet table.

This looks good. I'm hungry!

The line is moving smoothly.

The serving line.

The serving line.

An aerial view of the food.

Plain, jollof and waakye. You can never have too much rice!

Finally Cynthia has time for a bite to eat.

Cynthia.

Ajowa is grilling pork. Yum! Bright would like some more.

Ahh. The scent of pork sizzling on the grill.

Ajowa can hardly keep up with demand.

Peace and the STHEYA women delivering some wine.

The CSIR table will have some wine if you please.

Enjoying lunch with Chetan.

Vani joins us. No lunch for her; being a vegetarian in Ghana sucks!

The CSIR table.

Enjoying lunch.

STHEYA folks eating and drinking.

Mensah and the children enjoy their lunch.

Joyce looks up from her lunch.

Brian looks mischievous.

The obrone table.

Brian, Dawn, Vani and Chetan at lunch.

Chetan, Vani and Peace having a chat.

The Spinners

The celebration went on late into the afternoon. ECG - Electricity Company of Ghana, also known as Either Candle or Generator, made its presence felt as lights-out forced a pause in the music.

The spinners await the return of electricity.

There are no photos but I will remember my only dance with Peace that day. We danced to the song “Faithful” by Okyeame Kwame. When I first arrived in Ghana this song became a favourite of mine. It’s a particularly melodic example of the local variant of hip-hop known as hip-life. It’s my ring-tone on Peace’s phone.

Winding Down

Dancing with Okyeame Beatrice, Veronica and Veronica's daughter Ivy.

The Esoko guys hanging out.

Peace and the STHEYA women.

Peace strikes a pose.

So Many Good Friends

There was quite a crowd on the day. While I remember the names of most, there are a few whose names escape me. When Peace is able to sit with me to work through the pictures I’ll update this section with correct names. Names or no names, it was a joy to have so many well-wishers. When Peace is able to sit with me to work through the pictures I’ll update this section with correct names.

Dawn and Brian Conklin.

Esoko pal Delali with Michael and Enyonam.

Esoko friends Enyonam and Michael.

Kyei, Tunde, Tunde's girl-friend Ivy, Kwasi and Mena Aba enjoy drinks.

Erica from Esoko.

Delali from Esoko.

Delali from Esoko.

So many good friends.

STHEYA First Lady, Priscilla Siaw.

Nancy (STHEYA).

So many good friends.

So many good friends.

So many good friends.

So many good friends.

Friend and Atta

Atta.

Atta & Friend.

David (STHEYA).

Friends and neighbours from our compound near Dan's Bar.

So many good friends. And two very cute twins.

So many good friends.

So many good friends.

So many good friends.

So many good friends.

So many good friends.

So many good friends.

STHEYA President and my good friend Joe Poku with another STHYEA friend.

So many good friends.

So many good friends.

Fred Quist and Friend.

So many good friends.

So many good friends.

So many good friends.

Nana Essie.

So many good friends.

So many good friends.

So many good friends.

So many good friends.

So many good friends.

STHEYA friends Nerissa and Priscilla.

STHEYA friends, Ayao and Clifford on the right.

STHEYA friend Clifford. Looking like a million bucks.

STHEYA friend.

Faustina's Mom.

STHEYA friends Joyce and Doris (Peace long time buddy).

Joyce and Doris.

Old friend from Burma Camp.

So many good friends.

So many good friends.

So many good friends.

STHEYA friends Josephine, Antoinette, Bill and Bash.

STHEYA friends Bill & friend.

STHEYA friend Josephine (wife of Jonathan).

STHEYA friend Bill.

So many good friends.

Neighbour ladies from our compound.

STHEYA friends Jonathan and Richard. Clifford looks on.

So many good friends.

So many good friends.

So many good friends.

So many good friends.

STHEYA friends Richard and friend.

STHEYA friends Fred MacBruce, Jonathan and Bill.

STHEYA friend Justine.

Justine.

Justine.

Justine.

Doris' sister Essie, STHEYA friends Nancy and Bernadette.

So many good friends. Now here is a lady who knows a good thing!

Cheers!

STHEYA friend Bernadette.

So many good friends.

So many good friends.

STHEYA friend Josephine (Nungua Josephine).

Peace's old work mate Baba. Peace learned her catering trade with Baba.

Peace's old friend Joyce. Joyce was there when Peace and I first met.

So many good friends.

So many good friends.

So many good friends.

So many good friends.

STHEYA friends Nerissa and Josephine's daughter.

So many good friends.

Doris' sister Essie.

Essie.

STHEYA friends Antoinette, Barbara and Nerissa.

Antoinette, Barbara and Nerissa.

Barbara.

Barbara bids us fond adieu.

Eiyee.

Really. I gotta go!.

STHEYA friends Nerissa and Cynthia.

William Laast.

Justine.

Clifford's wife, Josephine (?).

Vero and ??

Vero and ??

Vero and ??

Kofi's buddy Ekow. Hey! Now he's got my gig hat!

Still to be Sorted

Okyeame Beatrice.

Okyeame Beatrice.

Okyeame Beatrice.

Beatrice recommends: never sleep with your nickers on if you want to keep your man!

Julie has a parcel for Mensah

Here. Let me slip it in there.

Beatrice helps out.

Advice for Mensah from Beatrice. We surely got our moneys worth from Okyeame Beatrice!

Here comes the bride.

Beatrice has brought the bride. Julie and Beatrice shake on it.

Rick is ready and waiting.

Rick is ready and waiting.

Beatrice addresses Peace's mother and honorary father.

Beatrice addresses Peace's mother and honorary father.

Peace addresses her honorary father.

Peace with her uncle from her father's side.

Peace with her uncle from her father's side.

?? carrying some of the bride's items.

Now Ivy is hauling the bride's suit case.

Vero is on the move.

Peace and Rick look very serious.

Some advice from STHEYA (??).

Peace and Rick are obviously listening to someone.

Another STHYEA group shot.

Another STHEYA group shot.

My good STHEYA friend Gavu wishes me the best.

My good STHEYA friend Gavu wishes me the best.

Kofi

Kofi

William and Justine

Peace's family bow their heads in prayer.

The STHEYA guests bow their heads in prayer.

Dowry items arranged on a table.

Peace's mother, Grace and Okyeame Beatrice.

Peace and Antoinette.

Peace and Maggie.

Here comes the bride.

Here comes the bride.

Here comes the bride.

Here comes the bride.

Here comes the bride.

Here comes the bride.

Here comes the bride.

Here comes the bride.

Here comes the bride.

Our photographer Ben was busy all day.

The Systems Team rides again!

Me and my new brothers.

Me and my new brothers.

Rick and Ajowa.

Emannuel's son Bright with his grandmother.

Who are these boys?

Veronica with mother.