Extracts of a recorded conversation with Saimi Bi who visited us at the Tipton Muslim Community Centre.
My name is Saima Bi and I have lived in Tipton for the past 16 years, before that I was living in a small village in Pakistan.
This first photo was taken at my younger brother’s wedding during his Henna day. All my sisters and my brother who live in England went to attend my brother’s wedding in Pakistan.
We are very close to each other even my cousins are like my sisters and brothers. The Henna ceremony happens a couple of days before the main wedding day, we make the groom walk around this village while the old ladies sing some songs and pray for their happy marriage. Once the groom is back he sits on stage and everyone puts Henna on his hands and oil in his hair and gives him something sweet to eat, also we give him money as well.
This one was taken on my brother’s wedding day and it's me with my son. The wedding day is when the groom's side goes to the bride's house and then brings her to the groom's house. The beautician helped me get ready to get the henna done on my hands.
All my sisters and brothers grow up together - we are 5 sisters and 3 brothers. When I heard my younger brother is getting married I decided all us siblings will go to his wedding. We enjoyed our time there, it was such a fun time. Weddings in Pakistan are more fun than here because in England all most everything is indoors due to the weather. In Pakistan, the weather is mostly nice so we can do all the wedding ceremonies outdoors.
There is a lot of cultural differences between England and Pakistan, the lifestyle is different. People here are too busy in their own lives but over there people get together a lot - people cook and sit in their courtyard, it’s very nice. We stayed for just over 2 weeks but we did not realise where the time went.
In this photo, I am standing next to my brother. Before we leave for bride’s house we do this Karoli which is when we make groom walk around the house while ladies and his friends walk with him and sing songs and pray for their happy marriage also we give them Salami.
Salami is when we give them money, and then he gets ready to go to the bride's house.
The wedding is 4 days - first Maniyan, Mehndi, Shadi, and then Walima.
The bride's side has 2 days as they do Maniyan and Henna on the same day. On Maniyan day only close the family gives them money and on the main day, everyone who is invited to the wedding gives them money. The wedding was 1 and a half year ago in 2017, in April 2019 it will 2 years.
This is a photo of my 2 sisters with me and my mom. I have a very good relationship with my sisters - they are very nice. Siblings are very important - we can share our feelings and we can share our happiness and sorrow. I love my mother more than my father because she is a very sweet lady but my father is a little strict he gets angry very quickly. My mom is always really nice. When I came from Pakistan my mom was crying and whenever I sit and think about that moment how it must be hard for her.
Life is very different here in Tipton than back home when all my siblings were together.
When I was in Pakistan I was living with my parents but when I came here I had to live with my in-laws and it was like living with strangers. When I first came here life was hard- I cried for the first 2 weeks. I was missing everyone from back home. Now I am in contact with my parents regularly I speak to my mom longer than my father, I really like it.