Time may be relative in Uganda, but relationships are dearly cherished. And spending time in relationship is very special. We finished up our day of work, and Aunt Florence and I squished into a taxi for the long transport to her house. I spend a lot of time with the Sseko women, hearing about their lives, their families, and their dreams. So I’m always thrilled to visit their homes to experience everything they’ve shared about, and to see the ladies really in their element.
The Sseko workshop is far out of town, which means a long transport for most of our ladies to and from work, but they all know how to time it just right so as not to get stuck in a big traffic jam. Once we disembarked from the first taxi in the middle of town, Aunt Florence expertly wove her way through the crowds of people, back alleyways, and main thoroughfares, right onto another taxi that she intuitively knew was headed in the direction she wanted to be going. I held onto my purse and kept my eyes on the back of Aunt Florence’s head so as to make sure I didn’t loose her in the crowd. This involved tripping over chicken’s, narrowly dodging streaming sewage, and kicking her in the heels multiple times in my effort to keep up. Once we arrived at her stop, we picked up some soda, bread, and butter spread, and hiked up the hill to her house.
And what a lovely view! Well worth the 2 hour trip from work. Aunt Florence’s husband works for a water company, so they live on the company’s premises which happen to be on the top of a hill overlooking the city. As we watched the brilliant red sun set over Kampala, I met Aunt Florence’s lovely family and gladly accepted their requests to have their pictures taken.
A traditional family home in Uganda may be humble, but it is clean and organized with family pictures proudly displayed. And this was no exception. Aunt Florence is my Sseko mother. She loves on me, and makes me laugh, and is always teaching me interesting new things such as how to walk like a woman with an African figure, and how to laugh until I have tears streaming from my eyes. And meeting her husband and beautiful daughters was like meeting part of my family.
I’m not entirely sure you could find a more adorable man than Aunt Florence’s husband. His genuine laughter and jolly spirit, combined with his evident all encompassing love for his family makes you want to spend all evening eating g-nuts (like peanuts) by his side, listening to stories about his home village. Which is precisely what I did. I joined the family on the grass, stargazing while sipping soda, and the laughter and love was passed all around. They showed me the two small benches they had brought from the village, both hand carved with flowers and the phrase, “I love my family.”
As the evening came to an end, Aunt Florence held my hands in hers, and said “Thank you for loving us.” This is one of my favorite Ugandan sayings, and often encompasses everything one feels but doesn’t have the words to say. And one of my favorite Ugandan traditions is when the host/hostess escorts you to your mode of transportation. In this case, I was going to jump on a boda at the bottom of the hill, so the entire family walked me down the hill. As it was dark though, and the potholes, gravel, and dirt were all precariously mixed under our feet, when Aunt Florence slightly slipped, we both ended up flat on the ground, sprawled in a fit of laughter. It was one of those equally awful and hilarious situations, and a memorable end to a delightful evening. And even after I hugged them goodbye and slid on my helmet, the corners of my mouth turned up in a smile all the way home.