Our team member’s week in Iyolwa was marked by new impressions. They got to know better many people in Iyolwa and made there profound intercultural (and culinary) experiences which they report in this blog entry.
Already after the first few days in Uganda many differences between our homeland and here were obvious. For instance, “exotic” fruit like mangos, maracujas and papayas are very cheap here, because their trees are planted locally. Also you should beware of the traffic on the streets due to the fact that many vehicles are in unsafe conditions and don’t have the lights turned on at night. Opposite we like walking on the streets because we, as foreigners, are saluted kindly everywhere by the locals.
„Praise the Lord, the raining season has started! “
The raining season is beginning in Iyolwa, as Father Robert states. After it rained in the middle of March for a little time, the farmers counted on the rainy season and seeded the corn. However, the rain didn’t come, the sun was shining and the plants dried out. Now, end of April, it’s starting to rain regularly. This gives us the unique chance to witness a real spectacle: in the morning we observed how on the whole school site people were collecting something from the ground. The cook Judith explained us she was searching for “white ants” (in her language Jopadhola “Naan”), some extremely energetic and tasty insects. Naan hatch and fly only two times a year in the first night of the rainy season, then they lose their wings and crawl into the ground. We were instantly hooked by that and helped with the harvest. Though we refused eating the bugs rawly, we refined our meals with the fried and crispy version of them.
At the dining table we noticed Brother Moses saying two during an explanation, but showing three fingers with his hand. Upon request, he explains this wasn’t a mistake and he just used their common counting system. Here not the fingers which are stretched out are counted but the enclosed fingers in the palm of their hands. Thus a closed fist represents a five and other than in Germany, where an outstretched arm with a closed fist presumes a threat, the gesture is also used, as we later saw, to arrange a meeting “in five minutes”.
At a spontaneous bike tour through the local community we were invited by Vincent, a worker who also supported us in the ISSB workshop, to a Kon-Go. We already have seen many times how the men sit in front of their houses in the afternoons and drink that traditional drink with long drinking straws from a clay jug.
The drink is a millet porridge which is fermented a few days before and then drunken warm. While drinking Kon-Go daily matters and stories are discussed, therefore it was a great honour for us to be part of this ritual (that’s also why we didn’t take a photo of this). Unlike the “white ants” this delicacy couldn’t convince us.
For Jannik the highlight came at the end of the week: In the night from Thursday to Friday he was surprised by Andi, Laura and Tobi, as well as EWB team members from Buenos Aires, with presents and singing for his birthday! The celebration was in the evening at a feast with our hosts, the Fathers and Brothers from the Iyolwa community. Rice, potatoes, chicken, fried wheat flatbread, bean vegetables, curry and a lot of fruit like avocados, mangos and bananas were on the table. Before we started feasting, a huge cake was cut and the first piece was feeded to Jannik by Father Robert, very much to the pleasure of the presents.