The Civil Wedding – Recognized by the State…

In Rwanda, you have to go before a local government official to be recognized as husband and wife by the government. So officially, we had three ceremonies in Rwanda! During the civil ceremony, two officials representing the local authority read the Rwandan law that addresses marriages. The law addresses everything from how couples share resources to what are the legal grounds for divorce. At one point, the speaker provided me with what qualifies for a couple to divorce but then told me “in Rwanda, marriages are forever…” I was thinking, then why legalize divorce? We were extremely grateful for the men for conducting our ceremony but the lack of sleep that week and the rising temperatures in the small room didn’t help my present condition. Within 15 minutes of the start of the civil ceremony my eyelids were closing fast. I tried my best to stay alert but sleep was quickly overtaking me. At one point, one of the officials asked, “Bar-nes, are you listening?” I quickly retorted, “YES.”

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