Former Child of Hope pupil Elijah last week has formally met with the parents of his long-time fiancée Mercy, who is now a secondary teacher, to arrange marriage plans.

Elijah successfully completed a vocational course to become an electrician two years ago, supported by Child of Hope. He has since been working on solar power and other electrical systems at the school, carrying out maintenance and repair work.

It is the custom in Uganda for prospective grooms to attend a pre-visit with the bride’s family to agree a ‘compensation payment’ to the family for the loss of a productive member of the household. Mercy’s father has invested heavily in her education and the groom – who will benefit from her earning capacity – recognises this by agreeing, with the help of his church pastors and elders, a negotiated settlement.

There will be a formal ‘introduction’ ceremony in November when Elijah will present the agreed payment. In Uganda this is the traditional wedding, but Christians usually have a separate wedding ceremony after this, from which point the bride and groom set up home together. For Elijah and Mercy this will be a few months later and they will undertake formal marriage preparation with the church leaders beforehand.