Christmas in My Uganda

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A Normal Day of Work in Kampala

As we all know it, Jesus Christ was born on the 25th of December which is popularly named “Christmas Day”. It is declared a public holiday and celebrated by most of the people all over the world. Everyone has his or her way of celebrating Christmas and this can be determined from their way of living (culture) and place of origin. People from different cultures and origins celebrate Christmas differently for example those from my country Uganda.

Known for its natural beauty that consists of green vegetation, vast wildlife and a lot of eye catching physical features, Uganda was declared “The Pearl of Africa”. It is located in the East side of Africa with a group of other countries known to make up “The East African Community “. Throughout the year, all people are always working hard to be able to find a living. The students are always at school most of their time and only come home for holidays. The parents are always working hard to provide the basic needs for example food, clothing and shelter.

The capital city “Kampala” is always busy throughout the year as many business transactions are carried out by business men and investors from all over the world. Contracts are signed, new facilities are constructed for instance hospitals, schools and many more. Many public holidays are celebrated as the year begins and throughout the year for example Easter, Independence day, Idd day for the Muslims and many more. When the month of December begins, everyone begins making plans for the big day. At this time of the year, the students are back from school and all schools are closed for holidays.

Most of the parents begin preparing to make visits to the village so that the children can spend some time with their grandparents and get to know other relatives of the family. Everyone is excited at this time of the year and sometimes people travel to the villages a week or two to Christmas. This is because transport costs are very high during the festive season and transporters always charge double of the usual price so that they can also have a coin to spend on Christmas. By the 24th of December, the ones who plan on celebrating Christmas from the village have already reached and on their way there, they usually carry a hen or a turkey which is to be slaughtered on the big day.

A lot more is carried and these include new clothes and pairs of shoes for those in the village, loaves of bread, bottles of soda and many more. The people in the villages in most cases can barely afford these items and the fact that those visiting from towns carry such gifts gives a smile on their faces. It is a very special time for them. On the day before Christmas, everybody is anxious about tomorrow. As the children interact more with their fellow youngsters, the parents will have talks with the elders on how everything is going in the city. At night, the children tell each other about how each one of them expects the day to be. When the sun rises, it is all smiles on everyone’s faces. Breakfast is prepared and after a meal the children will dress in the new clothes and head to church. Some of the grownups will stay home to prepare food. The hens are slaughtered and other animals which are bought. When there is too much meat for one family, the rest is shared among the neighbors and those who cannot afford a kilo.

The “Matooke” is peeled and the rice is sorted. A variety of other food stuffs are prepared including Irish potatoes, ground nut sauce, cabbages and a lot more depending on what is planned. The big sauce pans are used to cook so that the food gets ready quickly.

Lunch is finally served not before 14h00 usually. The next ordeal after lunch is for the children to try out their new shoes and clothes. Drama usually engulfs when you have outgrown your pair of shoes or clothes but like the saying goes, the star doesn’t die. Whether they fit or not, you have to put them on.

I will be back with what my friend Godfrey doesn’t like about lunch on Christmas day and the reasons why it is served so late and yet the preparations start very early in the day.