Monday, 20 October 2014

Day 6/7 Kwanjulas bring out the best and worst in people

I know you must be wondering why I am writing quite a number of my tales on kwanjulas (traditional marriage celebrations) but it is to give you a well rounded view of what actually happens away from the spotlight. 


The behind the scenes stories of the most annoying and hilarious conversations that people do not often share after the fact.

So on a normal sunny day after a great deal of hustle and bustle getting ready for a kwanjula, we set off in high spirits and arrived about an hour and 15 minutes later than expected;  but to my surprise we were not fined. After a long and drawn out dialogue between the omwogezi's (spokesmen), we were ushered to our seats.

We made a bee line for them only to attempt to get seated in an orderly manner but it proved quite difficult and uncomfortable. The chairs had been staked so close together we barely had room to get through the seats and sit down. Also the fact that this situation was made only even more dire with tables fitted within our sitting tent that was expected to sit about 100 people. The table had taken up space for probably 15 – 20 people so we were all squashed like sardines in a tightly wrapped package.

Sitting arrangements aside I was unfortunate to sit behind a lady who decided to travel with her infant to this event, all I can say is that the day was quite the experience. Initially we arrived and waited to be asked to sit down by the spokesman from the girl’s side but as soon as we were granted permission it all began. I was the one in charge of handling the flower for identifying the bride as is now an unwritten tradition in our family. The lady with a child handed him over and began fussing about where the flower should be put and all.

Lady: ‘Muteke kimuli wansi,’ she said in a bossy tone. (Put the flower down)

My sister and I looked at her stunned at ho w she all of a sudden was giving us instructions at this point but decided to be polite about it all. There was no need to fuss.

Lady: ‘Kiteke wansi,’ she repeated a couple of seconds later in a very insistent tone.  

Now at this point the 3 of us were still standing while the rest of our team was seated because we were waiting for her to pull her chair forward and sit down so that we could follow suit but she was fussing about something so trivial. So the next time she turned around I tugged at my sister’s hand and urged her to sit down as we set the heavy flower on the table next to us.
As though on queue the lady turned around and began to eye us shifting and turning from side to side and could not sit still in one position.

Lady: ‘Mukatadee awoo,’ (you have placed it there) she said in a tone that made it seem to be a question but was instructive as well.

Me: ‘Ehhh nyabo!’ (Yes madam)

Lady: ‘Naye bagenda kilaba, mukateke wansi.’(But they are going to see it)

Me: ‘Nkatekewa, (where do I put it?) I responded as I directed her gaze to the space that remained between my sister while all this time I was asking myself what all this fuss was about.

Lady: ‘Kabera bulungi nga okitadde wansi.’ (It is nice when you hide it down)

Me: ‘ Ehh, I responded politely but did not lift a finger to move the flower anywhere else.

 I silently thought to myself, why the fuss after all they already saw the flower when I walked in past their tent as I headed to my seat. My sister only shook her head and smiled as she watched the staring match that ensued between the lady and I.

Moments later it was something else; in the midst of all the activity she began to move her chair further and further behind until a point where she almost maimed my leg with that of her chair about 5 times. The 5th time I shot out my hand and shoved her chair forward instinctively and continued to pay attention to what the Omwogezi (spokesman) was saying. Kindly understand, I was not picking a fight but neither was I going to entertain this silliness and trivialities any longer.

About an hour and a half later we were taken to serve food and my sister and I decided to go among the last because we did not want to stand in line for a long time. Now she on the other hand went in the first batch and so returned to her seat when we were heading to the serving area. When we got back her chair was back to back with mine and my sister could not get to her seat that was on the other side of mine.

She looked stunned as we stood over the lady who was demolishing her luwombo and chattering on with her company for about 2minutes. When I realised she had not noticed our presence, I asked my sister to excuse me and step aside and I dealt with the issue.

Me: ‘Nyabo, katuyite ko.’ (Madam, could you let us pass.)

The lady finished her piece of chicken before she got up and excused us and I made sure that before she sat down I intentionally moved her chair forward so that I could actually sit down. The moral of this story is when you are in Rome do as the Romans do but when you are at war pull out your gun and get ready to shoot.



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