Lemech, the man whose wedding I attended my second day in Arua (see Wedding on January 22), and the owner of the Lugbara grocery store in town, had a “going away” party of-sorts for our two journey guys, Evan and Trevor.
At 1:30, Doug received a call from Lemech asking where we were. We told him we were leaving in a few minutes. The truth was I needed a load of clothes to get finished washing (by the way, have I told you that the front-loading washer we brought in the crate is fantabulous! It only takes a TINY bit of water, which is great when you have no water pressure, and it only takes about 5 minutes to fill up with all the water needed to run it). Plus, it was looking cloudy, so I knew I would have to hang up the clothes in the house instead of outside, and they needed to get dry because Caleb needed his sheets that night.
Anyway, we did leave very soon and headed out to his house. He said we would know it by the big white tent outside that he had rented.
When I saw all the trouble he went to, I know a lot more people were supposed to come, but I think the weather kept many away. He had rented a DJ and had asked about 6 women friends to come help cook and prepare the meal.
The DJ supplied us music by Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, Eddie Arnold, Conway Twitty, Kenny Rogers, and such. I’ll bet you didn’t have that kind of concert for your 4th of July. And it probably doesn’t surprise you to know that I knew the words to most of the songs that day.
When we arrived, we were each given a bottled soda of our choice and a loaf cake wrapped in saran wrap. I didn’t realize until later why. It was 1:45 when we arrived (some people had already been there for an hour and 45 minutes), and it was 4:00 before “lunch” was served.
There were only 15 people who attended, including my three children, and believe it or not, the Sarah I met at church that morning, who helped me get a Bible, was one of the guests. In fact, later, when we each got up to give greetings and say speeches, she mentioned that it was a great day because the Lord has brought me into her life twice, and she was so glad we were friends now.
Lunch came out a pot at a time; eleven of them, plus two fruit trays and one vegetable tray. I don’t think we put a dent in the food at all. There was enya, greens, rice, potatoes, goat, an unidentified meat, chicken, sauce, cabbage, chapattis, and something else I’m forgetting. The women kept bringing them in from the smoke house, through the rain. It was pouring by this point.
My family had all put on their rain jackets to try and get warm, and I started living 40/40 all over again. I took 5 trips to the “latrine”, in the rain, with kids during the time we were there (remember the sodas? Yep. Straight through them). I was even attacked on one trip.
There was a huge Tom Turkey strutting around trying to get the attention of one of the females.
I was holding the door slightly open for Karis, when the tom came over and started to gobble loudly and act like he was going to eat my toes. I squealed a little and jumped away as he pecked. When I did, I jumped back, with the door in my hands, exposing Karis. She yelled, “Mom!”
At this point, one of the cooks came over with a stick and started chasing the turkey, who was a little reluctant to leave me, but she finally managed to chase it away. Karis wasn’t too scarred, and I decided bats in the choo aren’t so bad after all.
At 5:00, we began the process of introductions and speeches, and at 6:00, we were told the “program” was over.
It was a long day, but the kids were great, and we made some great new friends. When I got up to make my speech, I said, “My name is Kathryn, “ and Sarah, across the piat (the round, mud hut where the party was held) said, “No, you speak in Lugbara.” So I introduced myself in Lugbara, and they all laughed and enjoyed it. Three ladies came up to me afterward and asked for my phone number. I found out where each one works in town, and I am excited to go and visit them the next time I go.
I attended my first Lugbara church service and a party, not in honor of America (the nationals were not even aware of our holiday), but in honor of friends. I did not consume any hot dogs or hamburgers, I didn’t see any fireworks, I listened to outdated country music, and I ate Ugandan food in the cold, rainy weather. So even though it was a 4th like no other, it is one I will always remember.
Happy 4th (in honor of Doug’s grandfather who was one of the many who fought for our freedom in WWII).