June: From Wedding to Marriage

-Annihilating mankind, managing garbage

Escapist again? Guilty!  As death by murder and mis-adventures stalk our newspapers’ front pages and as numerous commentators and columnists contend with our politics and governance in daily robust manner, I tire of such issues.

So, still with serious intent, but with lighter touch, let me take you down a journalistic aisle, exploring briefly one of mankind’s lifelong attempts at maintaining a social institution, now, reportedly, under stress – and almost threat of extinction.  I write of the western version of marriage. First, a few basics.

Why is this month of June associated with Western/Guyanese weddings? I’ve read that it has to do with June being named after the Roman Goddess Juno who promoted marriage.

It was decided by those folks that June was/is far better for weddings than May, for example. Basic definition for “wedding” is: “the ceremony in which two persons are united in marriage”. Up front let me avoid comment on the two persons being both male or female these days. We can all picture the variety of wedding ceremonies extant in different portions of our world.  From vows to garments, music symbols, religion and legal sanctions, weddings still manage to capture the imagination and joy of communities – especially amongst the females.

But these ceremonies before God and State and guests are merely the prelude to the grand human institution itself – marriage. Your basic research will reveal that marriage is sometimes described as “matrimony, wedlock”; that it is ”a social union or legal contract between persons called spouses; that establishes right and obligations between the two spouses, their children”, even their in-laws.  You research the rest and explore how culture, law, gender all influence how couples cope with the married life – the status meant to cement families.
I’ll just spend a few sentences on Marriage Guyana.

The proverbs, Guyana marriage
Guyanese of old, fashioned good advice and caution about weddings and a life of marriage in many terse, pithy folk proverbs. Five of them: “Wedding-clothes nah mek fuh put down”, “Wedding nah gat back-door”, “Get de cage befo yuh get de bird”, “Watch de dance befo yuh choose yuh partnuh” and “If she good fuh bed, she good fuh bed”. If they are not self-explanatory, give them some analytical thought.

Frankly Speaking, to me, this noble, sometimes necessary institution, is under severe threat in good old Guyana these days.  The weddings are happily publicised, but not the break-ups, the divorces.  I did not acquire the statistics but am aware of the abundance of “single parents”, in Guyanese society. Marriage counsellors are there, but rare!

Equally rare fellows like my friend Hubern `Brother-man’ Isaacs, who appeared on my TV Show last Saturday, married thrice and fathered forty-three! Surely that’s another long story.  What are the conditions for long, stable marriages?

Then there are the Guyanese versions of “Visa Weddings” and “Business Marriages” which would lead, hopefully, to sponsorship and status in the United States of America.  A few years ago some Guyanese females subjected themselves to interesting, amusing and embarrassing scenarios at American Consulates and Airports. (What is your fiance’s favourite colour or pyjamas?”)

Of course we know of the long expectant wait especially in Guyana, of those spouses waiting for their “papers” from the “other halves” in the USA. Love or no love! The poor children’s fate usually hangs in the (long) balance too. How long have you been hitched? Name six eminent Guyanese serving at home who never bothered to get married. Even though over fifty.

Mankind kills, our garbage grows
Why am I venturing away from my more light-hearted mode I utilised above? Because my social conscience is aroused – and assaulted – by the thousands dying in such God-forsaken places as Syria, Iraq, Darfur, India, Northern Nigeria and Congo, for example. Not by natural dissasters, which too are contributing weekly to the lessening of the species.

I refer to the numerous wars and thousands of human lives, as mankind contrives to annihilate itself. Land ownership and power motivate these genocidal murders.  Old leaders send young men and women into war, some even using their Holy Books and their Gods, as inspiration.  How I now admire “lower animals”! World Wars contributed to annihilation – for – survival! What a concept!

Just a fleeting note now on a public health problem perennial in Guyana – proper solid waste management (SWM) and/or disposal.  There are some issues that I, a concerned but tiring citizen, tend to give up on, in this land. The extant national malaise of low self-esteem affects many great programmes for community and national improvement. I bet you, dear reader, can write down ten solid reasons why we cannot overcome our garbage challenges.

I alert all that another comprehensive attempt is about to be launched with repect to SWM in Region Four. Yes, including the Caricom Region’s dirtiest city, Georgetown.

Components of Public Education inclusive of Social Marketing; the real empowerment of local authorities and specific, spirited strategies to re-use, reduce, recycle and recover when it comes to types of garbage/waste, bags, containers and composting, to name a few, are once again to be pursued.

Will these strategies make a necessary difference this time? Only you can determine that.  Stay tuned!

Ponder…
*1) Modern Worship!  Off the internet a friend has sent me the piece about the Parson conducting his Sunday Sermon – the entire service – from his Ipad and other modern-day devices.

He directs the Congregation to open their Bibles – their Tablet, PC, I-pad, Cellphone and Kindle Bibles! Then all were guided to conversations with God via Apps, BBM, Twitter and Facebook. The Church has a Password for you to log on to its Wi-Fi. Credit Cards, Debit Cards, Card Swipe Machines and Electronic Fund Transfers take care of Tithes. Bible Study is on Skype. No need to “attend” anywhere!

Til next week!
(allanafenty@yahoo.com)

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