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Wednesday, 6 November, 2002, 09:27 GMT
Love bug craze hits Uganda
By Abraham Odeke
Bride wearing mosquito net dress
Mosquito nets make cheap but beautiful wedding dresses

BBC, Tororo

Health department officials in the eastern Uganda district of Tororo have warned villagers not to misuse the mosquito nets intended to control the spread of malaria.

The warning is intended to stop villagers turning mosquito nets into cheap bridal gowns in the on-going mass weddings ahead of Christmas.

The God-fearing but poverty-stricken villagers are being encouraged by their parish priests to graduate from their customary marriages to Christian weddings so that they spend the coming Christmas holidays as special people in the eyes of God.

While the bridegrooms are finding it easy to buy second-hand coats and neckties for the ceremony, the brides appear to have difficulty raising money to purchase sparkling-white wedding gowns.

They have therefore resorted to pulling down the spotless white mosquito nets in their bedrooms.

And the tailors in the villages have turned the mosquito nets into simple, but impressive bridal gowns.

The most impressive display of the gowns made from the mosquito nets was witnessed in the border town of Malaba last Sunday.

Nearly all 29 brides at the ceremony sported sparkling white gowns that were originally mosquito nets.

There was a similar display of the unique gowns in several churches in Tororo town.

Mass wedding

Now Tororo Director of Health Services Dr David Okumu has issued a warning to the village communities to stop turning the mosquito nets into cheap bridal gowns.

Church wedding
Preachers are urging people to have church weddings before Christmas

According to Dr Okumu, mosquito nets are the best weapon for fighting mosquitoes that transmit malaria, and should not leave the village bedrooms.

He told me that aid organisations like Plan International, who are giving the properly treated nets to impoverished families free of charge, are bound to get upset if the villagers continue misusing the nets.

The born-again pastors in Tororo are planning another mass wedding next Saturday.

It remains to be seen whether the new batch of wedding couples will heed the warning of the Tororo medical chiefs to keep away from the mosquito nets.

See also:

20 May 02 | Africa
19 Mar 02 | Africa
06 Jan 00 | Africa
07 Mar 02 | Country profiles
12 Jul 02 | Country profiles
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