Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Wedding Dresses for Rwanda

I loved my wedding dress. Some women, upon shopping for their dress, say, "Oh, I just want something clean and simple and elegant." Not me sister, bring on the bling. My dress was shi-shi as can be, all pearls and lace and sequins. I was a maelstrom of glorious frill on my wedding day.

So when I first heard that a local church was asking women to donate their wedding dresses to Rwanda, I was a bit verklempt at the idea of parting with such frilly glory.

In Rwanda, since the horrific events of the 1994 genocide, marriage hasn't been so popular. After the brutal killings and rapes of so many, the people were demoralized and began living with their partners, rather than committing to marriage.

Traditionally, women in Rwanda rent or borrow dresses rather than buying them. So a group from a Colorado church began donating and sending their wedding dresses to Rwanda. This has enabled some of the genocide survivors to start a small business of renting the dresses, and has helped bring the commitment of marriage back to the hearts of the Rwandan people. Women travel miles to rent one of these dresses.

Although verklempt, I'm thinking of how beautiful my dress would look on a tall slender Rwandan woman, rather than gathering dust in my mother's closet. (Although it would look a bit baggy and short on this slender Rwandan woman...luckily there are tailors for that.) It would be sad to part with my dress, but I would prefer a glorious life for it flourishing under the African sun rathering than withering in moth-bitten obscurity. (And, besides, I was in a 25-year-long "chubby phase" when I got married and the dress doesn't fit anymore.)
To all my Colorado friends: Would you consider sending your wedding dress or bridesmaid dress to Rwanda along with mine?

If there are any takers, we can have a Last Wedding Dress Stand, wearing our dresses out on the town before we part with them forever. (Fine print: they don't have a receipt to give you for a tax-deductible gift.)

...And, mom, let me know if you'd kill me if I gave my dress away.

1 comment:

Becky said...

I think you should do it, Amber. That's awesome.