The other me

For me, going back home to Uganda is like shading off one version of myself and wearing the other one. When I am home, I cease to become Angela, or a wife for that matter; I am simply a daughter that everyone knows as Najore. (A birth name that I worked so hard to erase only a few years ago, because I never liked its meaning – war!) I drop the English language for karamojong, I drop most outfits, I keep my trainers on at all times, and I stop asking guests if they are staying for lunch or not. See in my home, we always cook extra food in case relations, friends, friends of friends, friends of siblings, or the neighbor’s kids show up, and 90% of the time they do. There is always someone either coming in or going out of home, and it’s great – sometimes.

In my village, visitors don’t announce in advance that they intend to come visit on a certain day, so you operate on a probability schedule. They can show up at any time of day: in the morning while you are still sleeping in, mid-morning, afternoon, or late in the night when you are just about ready to retire to bed; and when he, she or they show up, my culture demands you feed them. It doesn’t matter whether you still have hot coal in your stove or if it went out a couple of hours ago, you will need to make that fire again to heat up any left-overs and serve your guest (s) food. A visitor cannot leave your home without being served either a cup of tea or water to drink, unless a family completely has nothing to offer, but even then, the guilt of sending a guest off without serving them some food is enormous.

From left to right is my sister Jacqueline, my cousin Caroline (Daughter of Chaudry Lokwang who took my dad to school, my family’s very dear friend Monday (Steven), and the other me, Najore.)
Neighbor siblings, Nakiru Angela, her brother Logwe, and Najore.

Published by Msdedeng

At 41, I am still figuring out life: my place in society, my career path, a family of my own, any many others things. Heck, I am still trying to make friends in California; a place I moved to 3 years ago. I am currently in a Community College to make up for the many years I missed school while in Africa (Uganda). I intend to transfer to university next year and double major in History and English. I lead a very ordinary life; a normal day is spent doing school assignments, hiking, or reading. My favorite thing to do is walk! Short walks or long walks it does not matter. Walking allows me to think about things - anything! My love of walking comes from where I grew up, a small village in northeastern Uganda. It is still one of the most remotest areas I will ever know, and couldn't even start comparing what life is like there to say a place like California. Walking was all I did while growing up! I walked for miles to school, to church, to the shops, to the borehole to fetch water, and to the market. It was quite an adventure unlike any other - so you now understand my love for walking.

33 thoughts on “The other me

  1. I love this story! I was a guest in Malawi and never wanted to leave because of how I was treated as a guest. I think I have read this post 3 times because it brings back the memories of being a guest:)

    Liked by 1 person

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