Whenever I visit Uganda, I inevitably end up in “the village” as this is where my mother is from. She is from a small village outside of Masaka. The first two times (ages 7 and 10) that I came to Uganda I was excited to go to the village because it meant playing with my cousins and running around chasing the pigs and chickens. The lack of electricity and running water didn’t bother me. The last two times (ages 19 and 21) I came I was much less excited to visit the village. I had a time limit of two nights before I exploded in a fit of spoiledbratness, demanding a shower with hot water and my iPod. To my surprise, I was not dreading the visit to the village this time around. Despite my addiction to my iPhone and all pleasures contained within, I was fine. I stupidly ran down the battery during the car ride, so I knew I would have no access during the weekend.
After a bumpy ride, over the hill and through the woods, to grandmother’s house we went. We arrived after sunset, so as you can imagine it was pitch black, save for a few lanterns and powerful LED lights that my mom brought with her. It was great seeing everyone, though difficult making out the faces in the shadows. Since my Jaja (luganda for grandparent) died, no one has been living in the house, the women in the village cleaned it specifically for our visit. Though they tried, there was still dust in the air and while undetected by my eyes, my allergies were keenly aware of its presence. I spent the days sneezing, with a runny nose and red eyes. Trips to the bathroom, after dusk consist of a bathroom buddy, a light and baby wipes. I often opt out of the buddy part, since I’m a big girl now! Baths are taken in the bathing room. You are given a jerican with water and a bucket. The walls and floors of this room are made of dirt so if you are a germaphobe this might not be for you. I honestly don’t mind it, though I will admit I usually hurry through by only washing the essentials because spiders sometimes reside here.
Eating in the village means lots and lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, which is my favorite part. We ate jack fruit, bananas, avocado, pineapple and sugar cane. Lunch and dinner generally consists of matoke (boiled green bananas) binyebwa (ground peanut sauce) and a stew made with cow or pork, whichever is fresh that day. People also snack on recently caught, peeled and pan fried nsenene (grasshoppers), but that isn’t really my thing. After only three days, I am sure that I have already lost weight.
Life in the village is slow moving. We went to the last rites of a neighbor who died. We went for a bit of a walk. I did a lot of reading and mostly we just talked with family. It is very relaxing when you are disconnected and just enjoying the peace and fresh food.