Saturday, October 27, 2012

Eid Mubarak

Mosque along the Kasese Road

Friday was Eid Al Adhu.  About 8 am, a couple of mats were spread in the far corner of the soccer field next to our quarters and an imam started the call to prayers over a loud speaker.  Students continued to play on the soccer field.  Family Groups, men in their prayer hats carrying mats and women in shawls trailed by small children dressed in their best proceeded towards the far end of the soccer field.  The mats were placed in two groups, one behind the other.  As the people sat own it became obviously that the front mats were for men and the ones holding up the rear were for women.  Over the next hour or so, the mats continued to fill with the faithful.
Angella at home
Along the road to Queen Elizabeth park, the faithful are moving towards the tiny mosques that are found along along the road.  In Uganda it is a national holiday so even the Cubans across the hospital compound from us are celebrating with their joyful Latin music.
I spend the earlier part of the day in a meeting about the Continuing Education course with one colleague.  About half way thru we are joined by another faculty member submitting a proposal.  He is glad to have use of our limitless wireless internet but as a result, discussions on the curriculum come to an abrupt halt.  At noon, anxious to get to my holiday lunch at my friend, Angella’s place, I tell them I have to leave.  I provide plastic chairs and they move onto the porch to continue use on the internet.  My efforts to contact my friend for directions are fruitless and it is 2 pm before I reach her.   Meantime I feel badly that the fellows are out on the porch but they have finalized their proposal and already left. 
Angella with children
Mbarara is a wild west sort of town.  Well it is in the western part of Uganda and while there are no cowboys or gunslingers there is a certain kind of hard, bare ground appearance and groupings of dwellings and meandering roads that is reminiscent of the horse operas of my youth.  Angella tells me I just tell the boda boda (motorcycle driver) to take me to Jesus Cares.  That,  she says, is the boda boda stage nearest her home.  So I head off side saddle on the boda boda after negotiating a 2000/- Ug Shillings charge.  
We go way beyond the far edge on the northern side of Mbarara town, on rutted, rock-filled dirt roads, finally arriving at the Jesus Cares stage.  There is nothing there to indicate why it is called Jesus Cares.  You live way out here, I think, you have to believe Jesus Cares!  Then I see Angella waiting in the front of a small duka (shop).  She has been calling while I was on the boda boda, but I dare not answer for fear of losing my balance.  We purchase a couple of sodas and beers at the duka and walk to her place.
She has been building a house for as long as I have known her.  The main part is now substantially finished with doors and windows and she has a fence on one side.  Much remains to be done but this is cause for celebration.  I get a tour of her kitchen garden, her home and the new house.  We are entertained by her daughter Fiona and a couple of children who stay with her.  A fine celebration for Eid Al Adhu.


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