Afework’s Wedding

This post was written by Allie Sebree.

On Sunday, December 1, ­one of the CCC graduates, Afework Tekele, was married at the CCC compound.  Afework is 25 years old and graduated from the CCC – Aerie Africa program in 2010.  Afework joined CCC in 2003.  He attended public school through tenth grade and then attended vocational school.  He has worked at the eye clinic as a technician at Soddo Christian Hospital since he graduated from vocational school. He has attended training courses offered by MMI (Medical Ministry International) including one in the Dominican Republic. Afework provides important eye care services to the local community.    He married a young woman named Meseret

Traditionally in Ethiopia a wedding can go on for up to two weeks with several different celebrations.  The first part is the actual wedding, usually hosted by the groom’s family.  A few days later there is a melse that is hosted by the bride’s family.  Sometimes there is a third party called kelekel that is a mixture of both families.  Either family can host and only very close family and friends are invited, maybe 30 people, to mingle and get to know each other in a more private environment.

The day before the wedding was a busy time at CCC:

  • A tent was delivered and put up at the CCC compound.
  • The house mom’s were working diligently to prepare all the food.
  • Some of the CCC children were preparing a small song and dance number to preform for the wedding.
  • At Ethiopian weddings there is usually a stage inside the tent for the bride, groom, and their bridesmaids and groomsmen.  The CCC staff and older children were working hard to decorate this stage perfectly for Afework.
  • Special chairs are brought in for the bride and groom.

On the day of the wedding, the groom, along with his groomsmen and close friends, go to the bride’s house to pick her up.  The groom’s family and other friends wait at his house, which is where I was.  When they arrive at the bride’s house, there is usually dancing with the groomsmen and the bride’s close friends and family.  Then the bride and groom get into the designated wedding car.  They usually stand with the doors open and reach over the top of the car and take a few photographs before proceeding to town.  The rest of the people then load into cars, vans, or buses to drive through town.  The party then drives through the town honking and singing to show off the bride and groom.  There are usually quite a few motorbikes driving in circles around the caravan of cars.  When the party reaches a traffic circle they drive around it four or five times.  All of this is video taped and photographed.  The video man is usually riding backwards on a motorbike or in the back of a pick up truck in front of the wedding car holding the bride and groom.  The driving and honking usually takes about 45 minutes.


The driveway down to CCC is long and unpaved, making it difficult for cars to go all the way down.  So Afework and whole wedding party arrived at the top of the driveway and walked down to where we were all waiting.  All the CCC children were singing and dancing at the bottom of the hill to greet the wedding party. Behind Afework and Meseret were her friends and family who were also singing and dancing.  Once they reached the bottom of the hill, there was a line of “elders” sitting in the first row of chairs.  The elders are usually made up of parents and important “elder” people in the family.  The bride and groom, and their bridesmaids and groomsmen, then went down the line and kissed the knees of each elder.  Then they went up to the stage and sat in their chairs.


DSC_0871Once the wedding party was seated on stage, there was a bit more dancing and singing. Then everyone was seated.  Chu Chu, the CCC dean of students, then got up and spoke.  He congratulated Afework on behalf of all of CCC and gave a blessing.  After that 12 of the CCC children preformed their prepared song and dance.  Then a preacher came up to the stage and blessed the marriage.  After that the food was served, consisting of traditional Ethiopian food made for holidays and special occasions.  One of the special foods served is raw beef served with a very spicy dipping sauce.  Spicy chicken stew is also a delicacy here and was served.


Once everyone was finished eating, the wedding party went down below the CCC compound, where there is beautiful mountainous scenery, for the cake cutting ceremony and to take pictures.  After that they returned to the stage for the presentation of gifts.  Each person was called on stage one by one to give Afework and Meseret their gift.  This signaled the end of wedding.  They loaded up all the gifts into the car and everyone began to head home.

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