Sunday, 21 June 2009

Uganda's Barack Obama is no longer single

I know. I've been in Uganda for almost a week now and still no blog post - a part from a few twitter updates.

It's been a really hectic week. On Wednesday I finally met my co-producer Faridah from CBS, Uganda's Central Broadcasting Service. We're going to be working together on rural development issues for the next three weeks. I'll introduce her to you very soon.

So far we've been out to Mbale in eastern Uganda to examine bananas and a new ICT for development project harnessing mobile phones.

Bananas are prone to disease and local farmers are being trained to collect data literally in the field and send it experts for analysis.

It was fascinating to see farmers, leading plant pathology scientists, computer wizzes and agriculture experts interact and conduct a training in the middle of a banana plantation.

Who thought you could be geeky over bananas? It's incredible how much you can do with a mobile phone. I'm still logging tape, but I'll tell you more about it shortly.

Last night I attended my first Ugandan wedding. I really had no idea about the dress code and hadn't planned to attend a wedding, so I opted for my nicest skirt. Black and white always works, doesn't it? I was told it starts between 4 and 4.30pm. I went at 5pm but was still way too early.

The MC kept on saying "it starts in three minutes"... three minutes, enough time to meet new people, because apart from the groom Morrisson - whom I had interviewed three days earlier - I didn't know anyone. Arthur and Bob were very sweet and briefed me about the Dos and Don'ts of a Ugandan wedding. For example, there's no seating protocol, but you have to make sure to sit on the right side. Morrison's guests had to sit on the left, while friends and family of the bride to be Rita all had to sit on the right. Apparently you're not supposed to shake hands with the members of the other family - I'm not sure if I got that one right though.

The Nile Room of the Hotel Africana was lavishly decorated for around 400 guests. The MC, a close friend of Morrison, had everything under control, and was even showing off some great singing talents. He introduced the chairman and the entire wedding organizing committee. Gee, I wish we had had that at our wedding.

The heads of the families spoke, siblings and friends - alternatively praising the hard working, warm hearted bride and Morrison the honest and good looking "Barack Obama of Uganda". It was a hodge podge of languages: English, Runyankore, Swahili, I think also Luganda, but don't quote me on that. A guest at my table lent over to say that you could even detect some cheeky little rivalries between family clans of the East and West of Uganda.

Despite missing some of the subtle jibes, I thoroughly enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere, the great food and thought the bride and groom looked a picture.

Among other wedding gifts, Morrison and Rita were offered several cows, a fridge and a plot of land in Kampala. What more do you wish to start married life?!


Christine 22 June 2009 at 12:56  

I loved reading this! Thanks!!!

Barbara 25 June 2009 at 16:06  

You're sweet, how's Rwanda?

morrison 24 August 2009 at 09:36  

Thanks Barbara,
The story is great. Thanks once agian for attending the wedding. You are now part of our family. Remember the African way.
Greetings from Rita. And ofcourse, farmers here in Uganda.

Barbara 25 August 2009 at 22:46  

I really appreciate that Morrison. Wishing you and Rita all the best for the coming weeks! Do you already know if it's a boy or a girl? Or is it a surprise?

Anonymous 26 October 2010 at 07:21  

Hey, I can't view your site properly within Opera, I actually hope you look into fixing this.

  © Blogger template 'Isolation' by 2008

Back to TOP