Sometimes we hear about some events that we can only best imagine the emotional trauma the principal actors involved would have experienced. At some point in time while thinking about a title for this piece, I was almost tempted to caption it The elephant in the room II because of its link to a previous post which addresses related issues. See link below for previous post
That post addressed some issues which I think are perculiar in the run up to marriages in Africa, specifically Nigeria. The "elephant" could indeed have long lasting negative effects on marriages especially if it was one that took the groom turned husband lots of stress and effort to take care of.
It so happened that I stumbled upon a rather pathetic tale in which our "elephant" played a rather unfortunate role. My initial reaction on hearing the tale was one of shock and thereafter outrage . By the time I am through narrating the tale you may understand the reason for my reaction. But before I delve in just for a little humour, a while ago in Nigeria onions became scarce due to some deficit in its supply occasioned by unfavourable conditions that affected its cultivation. During that period onions literally became like gold as it was sought after by all and sundry.
This is because it is akin to an essential component in most dishes. Due to its scarcity, the price also skyrocketed. Hence when a meme emerged on social media in which one member of the bride's family was suggesting that it be included in "the list", it made for good humour and was widely circulated.
Now to our tale. It so happened that a young man had sought the hand of a lady in marriage. Upon her acceptance of his proposal , he had proceeded to see her family to formally seek her hand in marriage. The lady's family agreed and presented him a "heavy" list of items to be provided as part of requirements in the marriage proceedings. Due to the "weight" of the list, the young man required some time to gather resources to secure the items requested.
During this period of "gathering", it is said that both parties had agreed to do a genotype test. This is now an important step prior to marriage due to health complications relating to genotype that have occured in the past especially during pregnancy or after child birth. One of the common ones being giving birth to a child with sickle cell anaemia. In the developed world, this may not be a challenge due to better health care facilities for management of such children.
However in Africa, sickle cell anaemia still remains a challenge due to the high cost of managing it. Hence when prospective couples are found to both have the AS genotype, such union is usually discouraged except of course the couple insist while being fully aware of the implications of choosing to do so. After much toil our groom to be managed to secure the items on the list even in the midst of the tough economic situation in Nigeria.
He thereafter proceeded with his family members as is the custom to present the items to the family of the bride after which a tentative date for the marriage was agreed upon. As is also the custom, some or in some cases most of the items are usually distributed amongst the extended family of the bride to be. It was after this distribution had been done that our bride to be dropped a bombshell. She chose that inauspicious moment to reveal the results of the genotype test. The result showed that the prospective bride and groom were both AS indicating that there was a high likelihood of them giving birth to a child with sickle cell anaemia.
Some questions arise as a result of this revelation.
Did the bride to be never have any idea or prior knowledge of her genotype before the test was done as a prerequisite for the marriage considering she is a health worker?
Was there any genuine reason why the results of the genotype test were delayed till after the presentation of the items on the list?
Should the groom to be go ahead with the marriage considering the possible health issues that will likely arise ?
If the groom to be decides to call off the marriage, what should he demand for:
a. a return of all the items presented
b. some sort of compensation
c. nothing and just allow "sleeping dogs lie"
Ordinarily save for the fact that the items on the list had been presented, it would have been easy for the whole thing to be called off and both parties go their separate ways. However due to the list and the circumstances surrounding it won't be just another walk in the park calling it off.
If you were in the shoes of the groom to be, what would you do?