So this is one wedding that took me far into the hinterlands of Nigeria. Ene was getting married to Richard and we had to go all the way to Markudi.
Let me tell you a little about the trip; I left my house for the airport on time, but the airline delayed me for over 4 hours I got to Abuja with the entire team and we set out for Markudi expecting to get there for 8pm in the evening. We did not arrive until 2am in the morning. Ene (God bless her soul) was so concerned she almost called my phone to death in worry. What happened you ask.
This wedding happened about the same time the River Benue, one of Africa’s major rivers had flooded its bank due to the release of dam reservoir waters in Cameroun. The Confluence town of Lokoja had been devastated. The major access road from the South of Nigeria to the North had been cut off. It was a time of grief for a lot of people. The Road from Markudi, through Keffi in Nassarawa state to Abuja and the North of Nigeria is seldom used but on this occassion it was the major road as all traffic from the south of Nigeria had been diverted to avoid the flood waters in Lokoja. On this Night of my Journey to celebrate love, there was an accident on this road, a truck had hit a car off the hills on the road into the ravine beneath and another truck had chosen that exact spot to break down. We were on one spot for 4 hours plus in that cold night, but the team and I where determined to be in Markudi, no matter what. Ene was getting married and nothing was going to stop us from being there……At this point, start humming to Mission Itspossible in your head….. The Musical notes are : la, la, so, so, la, la, so, so, fa, fa, mi, mi, fa, fa…………..
It was in such a time like this that I went to Markudi for Ene’s wedding and this celebration lifted the spirit of the people who had been battered by nature.
This is the famous food basket of the nation. This was the first thing that caught my site when I got into Benue state, the pride in their competitive advantage.
As we passed through we could see the plains that have been ravaged by the flood waters of the River Benue.
Houses submerged and livelihoods swallowed up. It was a time when the people of Markudi yearned for the sun to shine again.
Despite these happenings around them you could see that spirit that makes a Nigerian a different being fighting for the hope that the future holds. Men and women went about their lives with a grim look of determination on their faces. A determination to beat the odds. A determination that there is hope as long as there is life and a continued toil towards your dream with focus will get you there.
It was in this time and place that Richard and Ene lit the light of their love. A love that will burn fiercely forever. A love that offered hope to the people around and gave them a reason to celebrate.
Richards love for Ene could be seen blazing brightly and all the waters of the Benue would be dried up in its fierce heat if they dared accost it. He had crossed oceans to prove that love to Ene and show it to the people of Markudi.
And Richard was a man in a hurry to do this. He had neatly arranged the traditional items that were required of him for the traditional rites. But top on the list of these items was Balok the beautiful goat that was setting the fashion trends in Benue state and the central parts of Nigeria. All Top Nigerian photographers should hunt down this model for a marriage shoot.
While Balok was strutting her stuff outside, Ene was being meticulously attended to by all her ladies in waiting as she made her self ready for her groom.
Ene stepped out regally to present herself to her groom.
And as the letter of request for her Ene’s hand in marriage was presented by Richard’s family to Ene’s dad, you could see the look of satisfaction on Richards face.
While the bride price was being paid, the traditional troupe of these parts famous for their waist jiggling, entertained the people outside.
It was a very joyful and satisfied mother who joined in the dancing.
Ene had a little time in the midst of all that was going on to allow me express my creativity.
It was a beautiful ceremony this, but I am not going to leave without mentioning Tachimo, the beautiful white hen who went about reminiscing about her own wedding day as she ate up the food that fell from guests table. She told me the story and its a story I might just share one day on this blog. So if you want to hear it, look to the left of your screen and subscribe so you are notified when I post the story of Tachimo’s white wedding day.
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