Uganda Week 5

Ndi Mulangira! You may now officially call me Kateregga Lewis Ryan Ayers. This morning, Cornelius gave me a tunic and a coat, which I will wear on special occasions, and initiated me into the Mulangira clan of Buganda. It is the royal clan, and I am now in the same clan as the kabaka, the main king of Buganda / the most revered human in Uganda. Mulangira is the clan and Kateregga is a name within the clan.
The week at school was busy with preparing for midterms, setting the tests, and reviewing with the students. Cornelius had to go out of town for a conference for most of the week, so not much else happened.
One morning on my way to school I was walking with 3 kids I had not seen before. When we parted ways, they gave me 2 avocados. The avocados here are delicious and it’s obviously better to receive them as gifts. Then the usual village children joined me. For the rest of the walk to school, I had 3 kids in my right hand and 2 kids and 2 avocados in my left.
Pool is surprisingly very popular in Uganda. Every little village has a pool table and there’s usually people playing. One afternoon as I was heading back to school after lunch, someone called me over to the pool table and asked me to play. I hadn’t played in a very long time but I won in a close game and have since played every time someone’s called me over.
On Friday, I attended another burial with Cornelius. I don’t think I wrote much about it, but my first week here I also went to a burial. It was really interesting to see the differences not only from funerals in America, but between the two burials I’ve attended here. The one on Friday was for a distant relative of Cornelius’s, a Catholic bishop. It was a mass, and very similar to most funerals I’ve attended. The burial I went to my first week, however, was drastically different. It was in a very rural location, deep in the village, and most of the villagers were there. It was for a very old woman, and was held in front of the house where she was born and lived in her entire life. There were some tents set up, with the women gathered under the tent around the body (which was wrapped in some sort of cloth). It seemed that closer family members were under the tents and around the house, and everyone else was on the other side of the little road, among the crops. When we arrived, we went up to some family members and gave them our condolences (some money), as is customary. Eventually, after some speeches and singing, the body was taken behind the house and buried among the banana trees. I noticed everyone stripped a bit of bark off a banana tree or scooped up a handful of dirt and threw it into the grave. I also observed that very few people were wearing black, as is traditional in America. Everyone was wearing bright colors (one man had on orange pants).
On Saturday, we held an interclass volleyball tournament. The court lines were made in the grass with a machete and I played on a team of staff and advanced students. I worked hand in hand, as they say, with the head prefect and another student to arrange it. I did not make the schedule, however, and it was very confusing as there were 5 teams, an odd number. In the semifinals, the tournament became embroiled in controversy. I have prepared a fair schedule, and we will try again next Saturday. On the way home from school, the one lady in the trading center that has Coke’s fridge was finally working, so I got a moderately cold Coke for 40 cents and it was wonderful.
Don’t cry over spilled bucket shower water. It happens, often, and is especially devastating when it’s the hot water. It’s pretty demoralizing when it’s time to rinse off and all that’s left is 2 handfuls of cold water. However, when the full moon provides enough light so you don’t need a flashlight, everything is alright.
I’ve learned the anatomy of the fish of Lake Victoria that we often eat as I’ve mastered the art of deboning them. Maybe that’ll help me in some future bio lab?
If I had an avocado for every time I’ve had to chase a chicken out of the house as they try to lay an egg on the couch…
The kids here always touch my leg hair, as it is new to them. The other day, as she was touching my leg, a little girl looked at me and said “Ono ebyoya,” or “You have feathers.”
We currently have some “bad visitors” at the house, which I began hearing at the beginning of the week. Rats. Luckily, some friends had accidentally warned me about them before I came, so I was prepared, and we’re working on getting rid of them.
While I’d do terrible things for some ice cream, I’ve had dreams of extra large meat pizzas, and I think about steak a lot, I more often find myself walking home with an almost stupidly big smile that I can’t seem to get rid of.
Finally, I’m including my new favorite picture of all time.
Until next week, weeraba!



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