This past weekend, Alex and I were invited to participate in the baby naming ceremony for Vincent and Joselyn’s three week old son. In Rwandan culture, the baby naming ceremony is a traditional gathering that usually occurs eight days after a child is born. In Vincent’s case, the ceremony took place a little later because of his busy schedule as a sixth year medical student finishing his clinical rotations before graduation. At a baby naming ceremony, friends and family gather at the home of the growing family, sharing food, company, and gifts. Then, the newborn and his or her parents sit before the crowd while its members suggest names for the infant. The parents privately discuss the options presented and any other names they like before presenting their child and their child’s name to everyone at the ceremony.
Vincent and Joselyn held their baby naming ceremony at their home in Tumba, which Alex and I are proud to say that we are now able to find on our own. After meeting the friends and family assembled, including both Vincent’s and Joselyn’s parents, and helping to set up a few rows of chairs outside, we were able to drink in this unique event in Rwandan culture. As usual, Joselyn’s food was absolutely delicious (we still have no idea how she cooks her cassava so incredibly moist and chewy) and it was truly a treat to be included in such an intimate setting. The language barrier between us and the guests who spoke only Kinyarwanda proved to be more of an entertaining gimmick at the party rather than a hindrance. Vincent’s mother and father and Joselyn’s mother seemed to particularly enjoy our company as we gestured and mimed our way through the evening.
We are truly blessed to have found such incredible friends in Vincent and Joselyn and in those they have introduced us to. We could not have asked for a pair of more gracious hosts and we only wish we could somehow return the generosity that they have shown us over the last six weeks. We wish a warm and joyous congratulations to Vincent, Joselyn, and the rest of their friends and family as we celebrate the birth and naming of their son, Ndebwashuli Ntwari Arnaud.