Having learned I was single, several locals made inquiries to see if I was open to marrying an African. The most common way to find out was to send an envoy to the prospective bride. The envoy asked the tricky questions and if the response was favorable, then the man in question would come calling. If the envoy received a negative response, that was the end of it and no one lost face. In Shilluk country, the usual bride price was ten cows and a variable number of sheep and goats. The bride’s family could ask for a canoe. I heard this request was unpopular with grooms because they only found the wood for the canoe in Dinka or Nuer country. The Shilluk often fight with the Dinka and the Nuer, so it was tricky to get your tree, make your canoe, and get out again without being spotted. Bill said most canoes were flown in from Ethiopia.
My things were all unpacked by March 24, and I invited Bill and Lois over for supper. I even made bread, though it was only fit to feed to the chickens. Life was how I had imagined it and I felt content. It’s funny how much you can change in the course of a year. As I unpacked my things, I realized I had no teapot! How could I not have a teapot? I had never used a teapot before coming to Africa. After a year and a half in Africa, I couldn’t live without one. I added that to my market list!
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