IN another place there would be a limousine waiting outside the chapel to take them to the reception and then to the airport to fly them away to their honeymoon location. Even if there was a road in this part of the world to accommodate any vehicle, the vehicle would hardly travel two metres before it got bogged down in the swamp and the mud.
The home made cake (they told us there was a sprinkling of sago in it) was only two tiers tall (30cm high). Well it looked as if it was two metres high. It put the icing on the wedding celebrations.
And the Chapel: The most colourful and most natural that you would have wished for your wedding, anywhere on this planet. All the organic natural colours were present. The roof was the clear blue sky (with a few clouds here and there); the walls, the lush green forests of the Purari delta on two sides and the formal natural settings of the Kapuna Hospital making up the other. At the altar stood some coconut palms as well, to support the roof.
You would not have missed the walk from the entrance to the podium. The colour red for the carpet is very over used these days. So mats woven from pandanus leaves were used. The walkway was lined both sides with all the God-created colours that were present in Kapuna, the land that the people of Kapuna and the Purari inherited from God. Original indeed.
Somebody has to explain to us what a honeymoon is.
Now, about those who were wedded (and the others). Where do we start? The bride, the groom or the others.
I am biased, so let me start with the bride. When she was allowed to speak, she started in Tok Pisin and very fluently. Unless you were blind you would never have guessed that she was an expatriate – a Canadian, who later spoke in Portuguese and English. We were told that she was knows some Hebrew and could speak some Koriki too. Well at least “Vapani ima”(Good morning)
They did not tell us her life story so we cannot venture into that. This is Kaitlin Fisher, who left Canada to serve others with the love God put in her heart. She is doing this while teaching at the Kapuna Life School and helping wherever else she can.
But on top of that she found her true love. The reason for the wedding.
So now, Who is this true love? They told us that he is a Brazilian. The next question. Did you know Pele? Ha, ha! Not too many people in Kapuna know about Pele. Well one boy, Joseph, does not agree. He thinks he knows Pele and can play better soccer than Pele. At least in his dreams.
He came with a plane ticket to return to Brazil after six months. He was to help with the administration work in Kapuna. He has stayed more than six months. Does he still have that return ticket? We will ask him later.
Vitor Santana, the man, recalled vividly his mother and aunts praying earnestly to God for a very special woman for him as his time neared. Never imaging in his wildest dreams that he would have to travel thousands of miles away from his homeland, to a place that he had never been to before, to find this very special woman, from a different country, in the swamps, with the mosquitoes, the crocodiles and the mud of the Purari delta, in the Gulf Province of Papua New Guinea.
The bride is Canadian, the groom Brazilian the bestmanan American, the bridesmaids were from PNG, Samoa and Australia, and the celebrant, a New Zealander.
All in addition to guests, from Holland and Australia. Indeed it was an international wedding ceremony in the swamps of the Purari delta.
As vows were exchanged (in Portuguese with translations in English), Vitor and Kaite made a commitment to God and to all those present that their separation would only be through death.
More than 100 guests including colleagues and students witnessed the wedding. They included people from Morobe, Sepik, Jiwaka, Milne Bay, East New Britain, Western Highlands, Central and Western. But the majority were from Baimuru and Gulf.
Congratulatory messages were sent by relatives via video from Canada and Brazil.
The celebrant Colin Calvert recalled that this was the first ever wedding of international volunteers working in Kapuna.
Colin had spent more than 60 years in Kapuna. All his life time.
He reminded all those present of the first ever wedding on this planet, that of Adam and Eve in the just-created garden of Eden. Everything in its originality with a very special relationship with its creator God Almighty, only to be destroyed as time went on.
“Your wedding now is in this beautiful garden in Kapuna. In wishing you best wishes, I would like to leave you with a message from the Word of God. Vitor, you have found a good wife in Kaitlin. Kaite, you have found a godly husband in Vitor. God has made you husband and wife today. What God has put together today in Kapuna, let no one separate.”
- Joseph Ka’au is a freelance writer.