Thursday, October 26, 2017

X-Files from the village in #Uganda


"iyakhupa nandobe, ikhupa nabukane" said Walyaula to his daughter who seemed unbothered by her parents' worries. Literally it means that the rod used for beating the rejected wife is the same rod that will be used to beat the beloved wife.


The late wife of Masette was commonly referred to as Mayi Alice. She died after a snake bite at the anthill in her backyard. She had gone to pick "bumekele" from the anthill. However, she was bitten by the snake that keeps the anthill. She could have survived the bite but Masette adamantly refused to give her first aid or get a black stone to suck the snake poison out of his wife. And even before that, he has been beating his wife everyday in defiance of the village customs and culture. That is why her parents were not happy that Nangoti had fallen for a man her father's age. "Which warmth is an elderly man's chest?" her mother asked.


It is commonly said that in their gatherings around the pot the men share experiences and exchange ideas on how to manage their homes and especially on how to treat their women. If you peeked into their conversation, it is a good learning point. But we also know that Wandwasi has a tendency of convincing his fellow men on the importance of beating their woman as a sign of love. As others batter their women, Wandwasi returns home to the warmth of his wife's thighs.


Stupid men like Masette kept beating their women even when he was aware that such things shame their now grown up children. One time his elder son, Wabyanga had tried to stop his father from beating their mother. Wokuri stopped but turned all the anger on his son. He did everything expecting to get sympathy from the whole village. A child never intervenes in a fight between their parents. To his dismay, even the mother that he was trying to defend turned against him and asked where he got the guts to turn against his parents. "Unless you didn't come from my own thighs" Wokuri swore. What followed was disciplinary action against Wokuri's son.


Disillusioned by the events and humiliated by the public lashing, Wabyanga left his father's homestead and went to the big city, Kampala but some people say he went to work for Indians in Jinja and others say he works on the islands in Kalangala. It is sad that we buried his mother in his absence, and it is very possible that he has never got to know because he cut off all links to his kinsfolk in the village.

Bumekele that caused the death of Mayi Alice is a type of mushrooms that grow on anthills that harbour dangerous snakes. These mushrooms are white in colour and whenever bumekele sprout on an anthill, it means that the snake is sick and cannot move out. The women can therefore harvest bumekele from the anthill without fear of the snake. Sometimes, on these anthills also grow a common vegetable, "namuserepa" which look like human ears. In fact one of the common insults is when a person says your ears are like "namuserepa"

It was by surprise that Mayi Alice was bitten by the snake when she had gone to pluck "bumekele" from the anthill. The snake bit her in the neck and because his husband was drunk at that time, no immediate attention had been given to her until she lost consciousness.

Till then we shall keep you posted.


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