Friday, 10 December 2010

Uganda Wishes - Bwera Celebrates

Beans readying for the feast!
I awake to the cow moaning. Along with village excitement. It’s the big day. Nat and Pete’s African wedding celebration. 
Nelson, Cobra’s Project lead is scurrying around attending to the pavilion. A structure so far of wooden posts. Lacking a roof or tarp.
The jajjas are busy grinding g-nuts and peeling matoki. Women pour into the camp with paddles and pots. A make-shift cook area is set up near the school. No work today for the men.
G-nuts being ground and matoki being peeled.
Natalie and Peter have already departed to prepare. Meanwhile, poor Colleen has succumbed to a tummy bug and has spent much of the morning diving into the bushes. She claims the day will make it better.
Chickens step around, young chicks chirping behind. I haven’t touched an egg since I’ve been in Africa. Breakfast includes boiled eggs and g-nuts. I see what the chickens feed on – mostly garbage so again I pass.
The day is setting up to be a scorcher. At 9:15 a.m. we’re already melting. The music has started to arrive. The generator is set up and the PA system is coming together.
It’s official the cow is dead. I watch the cooks hover over the hide. The head sticks out of a pot. For the Lhukonzo the meat will be welcome.
Children play nearby with the rim of a bicycle wheel. They chase it by pushing it along with a stick. I meet Geoffrey a teacher with a Fine Arts Diploma. I have pencil crayons and coloured markers donated by my friend the Holistic Sailor back home. I pass them over to him. His face lights up like a Christmas tree. He is entirely grateful.
I pose my Uganda Wishes question on him. What is your wish for Uganda today?
“I wish to get jobs for Uganda,” he says. “A start for the future.”
For the world I ask?
“I wish for peace and at the same time peace in Uganda. I wish for transparency. I wish that corruption would come to end. The mistreatment of the poor.”
I unload the last hacky sack passed again over to me from the Holistic Sailor on the children gathered around. I show them how. To share. I leave them to play then sneak up on them with my video camera. Then I recite what I know in their language. All four words. Good morning, good afternoon, good and thank you. They tell me back. Then I ask them to repeat the word Canada. I leave them to fumble around with the hacky sack and venture over to the cooking.
The men have taken the axe to the cow now. They’re hacking it up for the pots. Women cut up onions and tomatoes. Others tend to the stews.
The make-shift cooking area for the feast.
The tarps are up. I see the ladies carrying benches probably from the church, two each on their heads. What balance. The mzungus await in the shade. One by one we’ve dressed in our Sunday best.
The music starts. A little reggae, some Ugandan rap. Finally Peter and Natalie arrive. Nelson shows them the steps - they are welcomed. There is a crowd of jajjas (grandmothers), children and young adults. Every seat is filled. A Ugandan anthem is sung. Soon speeches with some translation. The heat burns on. Poor Colleen continues to throw up.
Natalie and Peter Hunt in their African attire.
They thank Natalie and Mr. Peter for building the school. They have both been graced with African names. Peter is Mubere and Natalie is Katusime. A Bwera Policeman represents the community with a speech.
“A house is built of bricks and stone. A marriage is built of love alone,” he says.
The children have such rhythm. I ask the young women to show me the moves. There is expression to the dances. Even the eyes dance!
Lunch is served. Everyone is fed. No forks. I watch them eat with their hands. I decide to take a walk to Bwera for a break.
I see many children along the highway. They chase me opposite the road yelling mzungu – mzungu!
In the town of Bwera I meet up with other PODA members. Colleen has been taken to the hospital. I jump in to visit her. She’s on an IV drip and is starting to feel better.
We return to the celebration. The cultural dancers are up now. What a show! It’s filled with ooh, ahhh and laughter.
One of the traditional dancers.
I question how anyone can say these people must hate their lives. How can they? They really don’t know any different.
After the celebration with the school in the background.
The sun leaves the clouds. The crowds begin to dissipate. The mountain air instills more voices. Cheerful happy voices. The village won’t go to sleep any time soon.
The village is happy.
Nelson's father leaves the celebration on foot.


Shel Will said...

Sooo glad you got to see the village life :)

A Fresh Thinker said...

Definitely a highlight of my experience in Uganda... Africa.