Tomorrow is a very special day for Innocent, Betty and most of all Norman. There is to be a Thanksgiving Mass here at their home to Baptise Norman and to give thanks for their home. Innocent also wants this to be a family reunion and between 50 and 100 people are expected! They are travelling from far and wide just to attend this special day.
Plans have gradually been put into place this week first of all with visits to the Priest who was delighted to do this for Innocent as he plays a big part in church life, in particular the youth side and is head of the Youth Choir.
Yesterday the real work started hunting down food and I will let the photos tell the story.
Paul and Alex, knives at the ready
Judith selects leaves suitable to wrap the matoki to steam
A fine bunch and we need five more like it!
Alex collects the banana fronds and takes them back to prepare
Stripping the central ‘backbone’ of the leaf
Firewood in the pick-up first.
Followed by five enormous bunches of matoki
Innocent still doing the deal
I honestly thought that Alex and Paul would be walking home or I would come back for them but no, they were perched on top of everything!
10 year old Paul and I tried to carry just one of these bunches of matoki and didn’t get very far. Innocent picks two up, no trouble!10 year old Paul and I tried to carry just one of these bunches of matoki and didn’t get very far. Innocent picks two up, no trouble!
The stripping of the banana fronds is well underway!The stripping of the banana fronds is well underway!
Edith the lady whose land we were buying all the produce from said my new name is Mirembe, meaning peace
We need lots of firewood as the charcoal stove won’t be used for such a big amount of food.
Innocent starts to bargain a price for borrowing the giant pots.
Alex was tying the banana leaves securely as they had to travel in the pick-up with everything elseAlex was tying the banana leaves securely as they had to travel in the pick-up with everything else
Thank goodness for my friend Godfrey’s pick-up up as we have collected a tent and poles, one hundred chairs and the same onumber of plates. No need for cutlery in Uganda, though I shall probably sneak into the house for a fork as I always make such a mess using fingers only as it’s a full cooked meal!
In search of one hundred chairs we found some at an event that hadn’t quite finished. These ladies insisted I sit with them a while. I felt quite underdressed as I only had tatty shorts and t-shirt on!In search of one hundred chairs we found some at an event that hadn’t quite finished. These ladies insisted I sit with them a while. I felt quite underdressed as I only had tatty shorts and t-shirt on!
We did find 50 and they were soon hired. It wasn’t too far from home so I said we’d come back for half
But slowly, like a jigsaw puzzle, they fitted every chair in!
always have little friends nearby ‘Mzungu, Mzungu’. They love to see their faces in the camera
50 chairs plus John Baptist and Innocents cousin Mike fitted in!
Innocent and John Baptist have designed the order of service, and guess who got roped into typing it all out? ‘Please Mum G as you’re faster typing than me’ says Innocent! John read out some of the hymns for me to type but much of it is in Luganda so I had to read it carefully as I was typing. My touch typing skills came back quite well I’m pleased to say. Mind you it has been checked and mistakes found several times with the Luganda! The service will last at least an hour and a half so I hope I can keep awake as much of it is in Luganda.
Tonight an extra pair of hands arrived and all the ladies have been sat outside peeling mounds of matoki, a savoury banana which is the basis of every meal in Uganda.
Everyone will be up at 6 tomorrow morning to start the cooking – 15 kg of rice, 10 kg of beef, 5 kg of pork plus ‘soup’ a thin gravy made with the meat and vegetable juices.
Preparing the matoki is a real social occasion, lots of chatter and laughter! Do wish I could understand the language! But I love the atmosphere
Pots full ready to steam in the banana fronds tomorrow
Betty is preparing tonight’s supper too, mashing the cooked matoki using the steamed leaves
Norman is quite chilled out!
And I keep Alex and Paul busy between chores playing Dominoes. Thanks for all who donated them, they’ve gone to good homes!
The view from my room 100 chairs
And a motorbike!
Very early, before dawn I was woken by the smoke coming through my window (no glass to shut it out), and the hustle and bustle of the family preparing for today’s event. I didn’t rush up as I’m not adequately ‘qualified’ for most jobs being only a Mzungu!
Full of matoki!
They actually let me sweep thought!
Ok it’s not all work preparing for a party!!
Betty sorting the stones from the rice
The boys have been busy collecting water filling up the big water butt we bought for irrigation (a gift to Innocent from my friend Liz), but before it goes down into the field it will come in very useful today!
Washing up from the night before is bad enough but tonight after catering for 50-100 will be intern!
Amazing what you can fit in a small compound . The pick-up as a back drop!!
Norman and his little friends try the chairs out for size!
Alex is like a big brother to Norman
They actually let me chop the kilos of onions! My arthritic hand is aching now but that’s between you and me !
As guests arrive they get stuck in to helping. The event doesn’t start for four hours. Two fires on the go now!
Just been to collect tables, speakers and various outlet necessities and noticed many people gave their maize etc out drying. A good sign after all the months of rain and devastating floods
Loads of cabbages being shredded ready to be cooked
Norman sits in the shade digging in the dust unaware that this day is especially for him!
Suddenly there was lots of excitement around, even more than it was anyway. The boys started pulling the brown dead banana fronds off the trees and rushing too and fro. Not a good idea when the flames from the fires are being whipped up by the wind but danger or caution don’t seem to be in the Ugandan language! Anyway the reason is..…
Mr Pig is being slaughtered!! The fire is to scorch the bristles off it’s skin. I’ve said my apologies to the pig and even told Innocent that I and the pig are going to run away together but he just laughed! Will I eat pork today? Probably as it’s always so tasty! Sorry to the vegetarians amongst you!
It’s soooo hot here and with several fires burning I’m sweating like the poor pig must have felt when he knew his time was up!
I went ‘off air’ for an hour as I needed to rest as it’s so hot here and there’s a long day ahead yet. I hate to miss anything (except Piggy being slaughtered!) but I know I will flag later if I don’t be sensible. So I came into the relative cool of my room to lie down. I think I can hear lots more people arriving so lots of hands to shake when I eventually appear again in my ‘party dress’!
It’s been a hectic but brilliant day and it’s now pouring so I’m sat with many others in the tent enjoying the African music as water builds up on the tent roof in big puddles. I’m waiting for it to suddenly ‘go’ then I won’t need to bathe tonight!!