By Penlope Nankunda
For most of us who were raised in Uganda, Christmas is synonymous with going to the village. I am not sure where that rule is written, but come December, the question on everybody’s lips was “when are you going to the village?”
And trust Kampalans to make a huge deal of this, from hiked bus and taxi fares to last-minute shopping.
I have spent Christmas in Kampala and it is just as exciting; arguably even more exciting than it is in the village. What am I going on about anyway? My issue is the craziness that happens when Kampala dwellers grace the village with their presence at Christmas time.
Firstly, everyone acts like they actually do not want to go to the village. I mean, what is with everyone trying to leave the city on Christmas eve? The last time I attempted an upcountry trip on December 24 saw me sit in a traffic jam all the way from Kampala to Mbarara, on a bad road, moreover. How crazy is that?
Someone explain to me the sense in travelling all day on Christmas eve and travelling back all day again on boxing day so you can make it to work on December 27? How much fun can you squeeze into one day in the village that you will not outdo in Kampala in three days?
But my beef aside, you have finally made it to the promised land (read village), what happens? You start trying to track down all your friends from Kampala! What madness! You drive over 500km to hang out with someone you could very well have been with in only two minutes in Kampala.
You have finally made it to the homeland for your mandatory two days a year, why not try and hang out with the village cousin who has been beeping you all year. Maybe then, he will tell you what he wanted since you did not bother to call him.
Seriously, these village folks have been awaiting your visit like the Europeans were awaiting Micheal Jackson’s ‘This is it’ concert. The least you can do is hang out with them and share your stories of the magical Kampala they have been dying to hear about.
Well, I cannot blame the entire hullabaloo on Kampalans, the village folks also play their part in fanning this arrogance. I mean, who would not grow wings when a regular church goer is asked to leave their seat for the mighty Kampala creature?
The poor lady has been sitting in the same spot every Sunday all year round and just because you have graced the village for this one occasion, she is asked to find standing space elsewhere so someone who strolls in two hours late for the Christmas service, can sit!
Moreover, you are then introduced as the visitor from Kampala and given an opportunity to ‘greet’ the congregation. Here you talk forever and ensure the Christmas service ends at 5pm. When will everyone enjoy the sumptuous Christmas lunch that they have been awaiting all year?
Have a heart this Christmas. Determine to leave town earlier or just stay and enjoy with the rest of us. Also try interacting with the village folks and see what makes them tick.., maybe you will return with a lesson or two for us.
Finally, all health concerns aside, please do not pack mineral water. Seriously, try the firewood boiled water, chilled in a pot, it beats any mineral water brand, trust me.
Happy festive season!