June 9, 2014

Mami's Wake/Funeral in the USA, African Style

This weekend I visited Jersey again for the American wake for Mami -- my grandma, and primary reason for my last visit to Cameroon. When Cameroonians have funerals...not much of the time is spend in mourning. Especially for someone like Mami who lived over 90 years -- it's a celebration of her life instead. And when I say celebration, I mean literally a huge party with a live DJ and huge speakers loud enough to move the neighbors to call the cops on us, which they do every time my dad has a big party. And when the cops show up expecting to bust underage high school drinkers, are surprised to see grown men and women dancing like their at Ricks (for anyone from Ann Arbor) wearing suits and shiny shoes and heels. I guess this means my dad is way cooler than me because I have never thrown a party big enough to have been busted by cops. Multiple times. 

Overall it was so much fun -- a lot of work -- but a lot of fun. With A LOT of food. Food pretty much comprised 90% of all the set up/prepping time that took all of Thursday and Friday preceded by a few weeks of planning and forming committees. I felt like I was in Cameroon all over again. But it was nice to relive if only for a day. 
Myself in the dress I had tailored in Cameroon
Party dresses
The set up -- 100 chairs + full bar!
The people
My dad
My step brother and nephew
The preacher who spoke in French
Batons de maniocs waiting to be unraveled
The unraveling
Cooking stew over patio bricks and coals
Team effort: Kebabs
Enough chicken to feed the world
And even more fish, poultry and meat to feed the world a few more times.
And even more.
My plate -- mmm.
Me again.

I don't care for dancing much. But in Cameroon, when somebody dies, you have to dance for them. It's a way of tears--both the happy and the sad kind. So even though it was one in the morning and our feet were sore and the onset of hangovers were already beginning...we danced, and danced, and danced, and danced...so Mami would know her life was well lived.

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