Thursday, November 18, 2010

A peasant in the city but a king in the countryside

After two or so years, a few weeks ago I boarded a bus back to Hoima. Hoima
for those of you that may not know is in western Uganda over 200 kilometers
away from Kampala. It is that district that is found in the heart of Bunyoro
sub- region which sub- region is also known as the region that flows with
milk and oil. I had gone back to see my 93-year old grand ma that lives in
one of the villages in Hoima called Kikara which is about 15 kilometers from Hoima town.

Having taken sometime without going back to that village, the moment I
stepped foot on that village after those two or so years I was given an
unforgettable welcome. Almost every person in the village came over to have
a handshake with me the son of that village when they were told that I had
landed right into the village, straight and direct from the capital,
Kampala. They were so excited to have had me back. One thing I realized and
I really liked about our village when I went there is the fact that once a
person is from Kampala, it matters not whether all that he does in Kampala
is spend days on the streets of Kampala as a beggar or hawker. All that
matters to the fellows in that village is that one is from Kampala for one
to be showered with reverence and honor of a king. When I realized this was
the case, being the wise fool that I am, I took advantage of the situation.
I started moving around and about the village with the swagger of a peacock
and I ensured that they all took notice of that swagger. I also
started a project which was to last a single night. That project
was to educate these village bofoons about Kampala. That night I invited all of
them and we sat around a huge fire, then the stories about Kampala started
flowing like a river. Obviously the stories were littered with so many lies
and exaggerations about Kampala: gigantic and soaring buildings, the cars
and the traffic jam, the pickpockets that are common in down town Kampala
and all those other things that villagers want to hear about Kampala. It was
not until late into the night that my river of stories reached its
destination and we decided to go and slumber.

The next morning, you should have seen how those villagers flooded our home
just to have the last word with the Kampala bound boy since I had told them
that I was to live the next morning and just as a matter of courtesy my
grandma that morning prepared a meal for me to have with my village
admirers. It was a meal of kalo or millet bread the staple food of the
ancestors of the sons and daughters of that land and the source of smoked
meat mixed with groundnut stew. When I sat to have that meal, started to
swallow my kalo and saw all those adoring eyes glued to my disposition, I
remembered that time when these fellows in the city had treated with
detestable despise just because I had told them that I was a son of a
Munyoro peasant. Yet when I saw the admiration that was all around my soul
that morning I was surely delighted: my soul knelt down, right there and
thanked the almighty that though the Kampala fellows had loathed me just
because I was product of a peasant at least I had got people in this world
that really admired and respected me.

By Tiberindwa Zakaria

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