S: Amatebeto 2009
FC: My Amatebeto 2009 | Amatebeto is an initiation ceremony that is tradition for the Bemba tribe. It is a three day long ceremony of food dancing and family. I learned many of the traditions and how the Bemba women treat their husbands and family. So I guess you can now say that I am BEMBA!! Whoo hoo! I hope you all enjoy the pictures and memories.
1: Here are some pictures of the food preparation. These women worked for 3 days outside in the heat to prepare food for me! It was amazing! They prepared everything as if we were in a village. | In the village when their is no electricity or a stove they use charcoal to cook.
2: This is Mushrooms in sauce | She is cooking nshima, a dish that is made from cornmeal and water. (we actually have this for dinner at least once a week at our house).
3: She is showing me how to use charcoal. | And of course the chicken!
4: The middle picture is bean leaves and the other pictures are sweet potatoes. | One thing I noticed in Africa is that they do not let things go to waste! They even cook the leaves of many of the plants. My favorite was the pumpkin leaves (shown on the next page.)
5: Edwin's mom made me this dress!
6: The people I met and the family I am now a part of are so amazing. This experience was definitely one I will remember forever!
7: Next to me they had other family members who were not Bemba but have married into the tribe and traditions. They helped me understand what was happening and translated for me.
8: Let the dancing begin! WOW! These kids were AMAZING!
9: This is all the food they prepared... even the floor was covered in pots!
10: The food was really good! There were only a few things I stayed away from, but only if they had eyes!
11: They were teaching me how to stir a big pot of nshima... WAY harder than it looks!
12: The party took place at Edwins old house. It was nice to see the house that he lived in right before he left for the U.S.
13: Some of the guests arriving
15: This is how they brought the food in to me.
16: As they walked in they sang songs in the Bemba language.
17: I was so blessed by all that they did to prepare the food and bring it in.
18: Now that is what I call balance!
19: All the women wearing the white and black chitenge's (wraps/skirts) were family members
22: Once all the women were inside the gate they sang more traditional songs and started setting the food down to show me.
24: Here is Esther (Edwin's youngest sister) and Chileshe his cousin who lives with Edwin's parents.
25: Most of you are wondering what is going on here... two women are symbolizing a marriage of a man and wife. There is a dish wrapped in fabric and tied in a knot on top. Both of the women have to untie the knot using only their mouths. This symbolizes how hard a marriage can be but you have to continue to work at it TOGETHER.
26: The main dish Nshima and chicken was in the other pot.
27: Here is a better picture of the family members who have married into the Bemba tribe. The lady on the very end (Annette) is married to Edwin's oldest brother. | They washed my hands and feet. This was a symbolism of what I should be doing for Edwin when he gets home from a hard day at work.
29: Here they were showing me all the dishes they had prepared. This was showing me that even if you do not have a lot of money you can cook for your husband. They were showing me how many different dishes they can make..
30: This is an African drink made from the root of a plant mixed with cornmeal and water and left to ferment. If left long enough the alcohol content will rise... It is called umunkoyo
31: This lady is holding a plate with a cover and she asked me what was inside... I was instructed to say "nothing". When she opened the lid there was in fact nothing in it. This is a symbol of how we should treat a marriage There should be no lies and NOTHING that we do not know about one another. | Edwin's sister Engosa and cousin Chomba
33: The dancers preparing.. and yes, they even found an OBAMA chitenge. How cool is that!!
34: The drummers, Dancers and singers! They were AMAZING! | We have video too if anyone wants to see it.
35: I even had a little African flower girl! How cute is she!
36: Let the dancing begin!!!
38: These kids were soooo good!
39: Above is Engosa's (Edwin's sister) Mother-in-Law. She was such a big help. She helped put together the dancers and drummers and on my first day she brought me a bunch of African gifts. (that are now in my kitchen!) She was a big part of making me feel welcome into the family!
41: Probably going to have to ask me about this one in person!
42: They were bringing me gifts and showing me some of the wild fruit and vegetables they use when they do not have the money or means to go to the market
44: Getting their groove on... Edwin's Cousin Mutale and youngest Sister Esther. Miss you girls!!
47: Seriously these kids know how to dance! It is something they are taught from a very young age and I personally did not know hips were able to move like that!
48: To show respect they would lay down in front of you and roll to one side and clap twice and then roll to the other side and clap twice. This little girl blew everyone away!
51: I know... you all wish you could have been there!
52: More | More | And still MORE!
54: Then each of the women got in the middle and showed their signature dance moves.. no holding back!
55: Have you ever seen Edwin deny the chance of a dance floor... NEVER! He busted some moves I have never seen before.
56: The finale!
57: I could not have asked for a better initiation experience. The people were so kind and generous to me. I really felt like I was a part of the family. Thank you everyone!!!