Sunday April 29 2018

For love, he converted from Hinduism to Catholicism

 Joseph and Vicky taking their marital vow

Joseph and Vicky taking their marital vows witnessed by Fr. Desdarius Pule, the Vicar General of Lira Diocese. COURTESY PHOTO  

By TOBBIAS JOLLY OWINY

How did you meet?
Joseph: I ran a family business in Gulu town in 2009. One day she came to the shop and made some purchases. Her appearance struck me, so I served her with a lot of care and attention. I have always wanted to settle down with an Acholi woman. I thank God that after a few months, she came back to the shop looking for a job. I immediately employed her.

Vicky: I am not a professional in any field since I did not go far with my education. As I was searching for a job in different shops, I entered his shop. He offered me the job, which was not paying much, but it was enough to sustain me as a young woman.

What attracted you to each other?
Joseph: I liked her then and I like her now because she is a good woman. When I went through a difficult time, she supported and consoled me. I found that to be a hidden treasure and I set out to investigate more about her. She always talks to me and guides me in all I do.

Vicky: He is honest and supportive. He also likes to talk. When we began dating, some of my bad friends would try to entice him but he would decline their offers and tell me all about it. Some of them would bring him rumours about me but he would reveal all this to me. This made me believe he was determined to be with me.

How did you get close?
Joseph: Since I was interested in her, I opened up to her. This made things easier even though she was my employee.

Vicky: I fell ill one time and he gave me so much care and attention and words of encouragement while I lay on my sick bed. I was stunned because I was afraid of him. I saw the love in his eyes but he was too shy to say anything. I also did not open up to him. A year later, we became very great friends.

When did you propose?
Joseph: I proposed in 2009 but she did not take me seriously. I was so angry. In 2010, I approached her again and demanded that she present to me an approval letter from her parents so that we could arrange a traditional marriage. A few months later, the approval was made.

Why did you reject the first proposal?
Vicky: I thought it was a joke because I know Indians have a strong culture against marrying Africans. But he began talking to my friends about his plans to marry me. That is when it dawned on me that his proposal was serious.

How did people react to the marriage?
Joseph: When I informed my family back in India that I am was going to marry a Black woman they were very happy and wanted to see her. In 2016, I travelled to India to take care of an emergency and I was grilled about why I had left Vicky behind. Instead I showed them pictures of her.

Vicky: At the time he proposed to me, my father was in jail. I discussed the proposal with my mother and aunt. When Joseph demanded for an approval letter, they did not object considering the affection he had showed towards our family. On the other hand, my friends felt envious about our relationship and went behind my back to say negative stuff about me to Joseph. But I remained strong because of the support of my family and relatives, and because of the love I shared with Joseph.

Joseph, was it easy to convert from Hinduism to Catholicism?
Joseph: It was not easy. I am really trying my best to be a good Catholic and I am picking up the traditions fast. Formerly, I was called Ankit Kumar Ashokbahi until I was baptised before the wedding. When we began dating in 2010, she convinced me to become a Catholic. I did not know anything about Christianity so I was a bit reserved. However, a priest told us that without prayers, we would not succeed as a couple so I learnt to recite the daily prayers.

How did you prepare for the wedding?
Joseph: At first, I relaxed on the planning because I thought it would be a simple ceremony for only the two families. But, three weeks to the wedding, when the wedding committee released the budget, I realised I did not have anything.

Vicky: We were not prepared. Our budget was small because our cultures were in conflict. Indian weddings are only attended by family members, yet my family wanted a big wedding. We later agreed on a simple ceremony.

How much did the wedding cost?
Joseph: We needed about Shs8m to organise a simple ceremony. We could only raise half of it but we are grateful that the community of wedded couples at Lira Cathedral parish helped us.

Vicky: The biggest share of the budget was spent on the groom and bridal entourage. My gown and changing dress were imported from India. The music and decorations cost Shs1m and were done by Lira Hire Services.

What was the most exciting moment during the wedding?
Joseph: I think that was when we put the rings on each other’s fingers.

Vicky: That moment when he fed me cake and wine. I was shy but as I swallowed the second piece, I got my courage back.
Do you regret any incidents during the ceremony?
Joseph: I missed having my parents around, especially during the presentation moment when parents present their child to the priest for the sacrament. One of my relatives represented them.

Vicky: I did not regret anything. I felt very good, happy and secure.

Imported gown
Vicky’s gown and changing dress were bought from India by the groom’s sister. Both attires were the most expensive items on the wedding budget.

Budget rings
With a budget of Shs8m, the couple saved on costs by getting rings that cost Shs300,000 each.

The church
The wedding was held at Uganda Matyrs Cathedral, Lira and presided over by Fr. Desdarius Pule, the Vicar General of Lira Diocese.

The groom’s entourage
Most of Joseph’s relatives did not manage to travel from India to attend the wedding in Lira. He relied on a group of close friends to support him.

White umbrella
Many couples forget that even in this season, sometimes, the sun can be scorching. Joseph and Vicky decided to accessorise their attire with a white umbrella made of satin material.

The bridal team
Red was a predominant colour. Here, the team is seen walking into the reception venue.

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