On our first morning in Rubuguri we were awakened by the sound of children at the nearby primary school, singing and drumming. After a delicious breakfast of fresh eggs, home-baked bread, and outrageously good coffee from one of Big Beyond’s local economic development projects, we had a mini-class in local customs and the work in progress at Big Beyond. After lunch we were sent out on a sort of treasure hunt with a guide and an instruction sheet. Our tasks included figuring out how to get to the village, finding and purchasing food, identifying crops, and learning a few words in the local language (Rukiga). Everywhere we went, we were greeted by children chanting mzungu! (the local word for white people), who then followed us around practicing their English: “How-are-you-I-am-fine,” or just as often, “How-am-I-what-is-my-name?” The treasure hunt technique was very effective; by the time we were done, we could find our way to town and back, greet people politely, feed ourselves, and find beer.
During the afternoon, we witnessed a cultural exchange between a group of scouts from the UK and the students of the local St. Joseph school. The school playground was a hive of activity and filled with excited students practicing their traditional dance for the upcoming inter-school competition that would happen the next day.
The dancing was spectacular, with a lot of leaping and energetic stomping. One of the local staff, a man named Friday, told us the story of the dance.
A village man had a good harvest after a difficult year, and decided to celebrate with a big party. Everyone came, and some of the men got very drunk and got a little too exuberant with their dancing. One man in particular was jumping and landing so hard, he made a hole in the floor. The host said nothing, but months later, when it was the guest’s turn to throw a party, the host of the first party took his revenge by dancing a hole in the floor. So, the point of the dance is not the highest jump, but the hardest landing.
After watching the rehearsals, we concluded the day at the local bar. Usually the new volunteers were expected to play pool against the locals, but we decided to just hang out and enjoy drinks instead.This entry was posted in Uganda, Vacation 2016: East/South Africa