What God joins together in Yola, let no one put asunder!
It was a special day on Saturday, August 4, when members of the AUN community witnessed the joining together in holy matrimony of two of their own. Danielle Villasana married Maigalisa Yohanna in front of a delightful crowd of relations, friends, and associates.
And from all corners of the globe, they came to support this adorable duo. Danielle’s dad and her friends; Maigalisa’s community from Taraba state, led by the traditional ruler who came with his cabinet; family, friends and a strong contingent of uniformed EYN Church congregates. The wedding organization was exceptionally well coordinated.
The weather was clement; Yola lived up to its hospitable reputation. What makes Yola unique, by way of introduction, is more than the enchanting scenery of adulating hills in far sight; it is the enthusiastic smile of its people.
Home to a global community, Yola’s most apposite symbol of integration, the American University of Nigeria campus, hosted this very colorful wedding ceremony last Saturday. You missed a lot if you weren’t there. No video recording or retold tales, not even this short account, would compensate.
If Danielle and Maigalisa decided to tie the knot “where it all started” as a statement of modesty, the wedding itself was a pointer to their immaculate, meticulous approach to little details.
The brief solemnization ceremony, the sermon, exchange of pleasantries, reception, cutting of the cake, dances and camera clicks, seemed timed with perfection. And when they chose to ride in a Keke Napep for the short distance from the wedding venue to reception, this couple completely wowed the crowd.
Danielle was both star and sunshine of the occasion. Exquisitely outfitted in a one of kind gown with handmade embroidery from Kaduna, tailored with the assistance of the groom’s sister Nuba, she was gorgeously cute but not ostentatious.
You get the impression her dress sense is influenced more by common sense than worldly care. She exuded a chief celebrant’s infectious joie de vivre and delivered a hostess’ class act of her own, hugging friends and her new family. What was going on in her mind at those moments?
Was it like a fast-pacing reel of photographic imagery she captured in dreamland? Danielle radiated grace, poise, and style with the cheerful mien of a woman in love who is determined to live a rewarding life of freedom, joy, and the fullest expression, on her own terms.
Maigalisa opted for groomed blue and sky-blue tops with matching trousers. Shy and introverted, he’s the proud smart boy from Northeast Nigeria who is even more pleased that his adorable wife cherishes the authenticity of his cultural roots.
Danielle’s entourage included her friends. They too were generous with lavish smiles. Their sartorial choices – boldly colorful, playful and culturally pertinent – would wow the fashion editor of their favorite magazines.
They blended into the local background. They were the cynosure of all eyes. If they carried the burden of representation, they discharged same with admirable gait.
Danielle, stunning and beautiful, is an American native and faculty who taught photography at AUN’s Communications and Multimedia Design program. Her heartthrob, Maigalisa, is the IT solutions provider everybody would hire if they owned Alphabet or Weibo.
Danielle is outgoing, cheerful, extroverted and captures the sunny side of life through her lenses. Maigalisa minds his business, and rarely smiles other than when the football team he passionately supports, Real Madrid, is winning.
At the AUN Community Hall on Saturday, Danielle and Maigalisa fused into one family unit, inseparable. The couple met here at AUN, unofficially Nigeria’s most beautiful university campus, fell in love and returned to commit to married life. You couldn’t make up this stuff for Nollywood.
I remember once teasing Ms. Danielle about being a Texas native, a Red American state, in a deliberate attempt to provoke her to debate her country’s iron-wall ideological divide, but she just laughed it off.
Last Saturday, on her wedding day, Danielle showed her true self. She does not see humanity in red or blue shades; her humanity is painted in bold strokes of multi colors.
The marriage of this beloved couple is not merely a milestone in the lives of two beautiful young professionals. It presents a paradigm of symphonic calmness in these troubled times when there is a global backlash against persons who look different than us.
“We all know that people are the same wherever you go,” British pop icon Paul McCartney and American superstar Steve Wonder, sang, prophetically, in their 1982 hit song: Ebony and Ivory.
Last Saturday in Yola, at the AUN Community Hall, we witnessed it. We believe it. Danielle’s handsome dad who came all the way from the United States to give his lovely daughter away in marriage may have picked his words prudently, but he did a poor job hiding his excitement.
MegaDanielle pulled us back from a loathing world to the enduring power of love. In the end, however, MegaDanielle was not a statement in political correctness, it is the story of love between two beautiful people who met and married in Yola, the Land of beauty.