03rd October, 2009. My face gradually turned somber as I yearned for my first public holiday in a long time. Our brothers in Islam had been fasting and all signs seemed to point to Monday as a potential public holiday-in-waiting.
It was a cold Saturday evening at the beach-side, and time check was 19:59 when my phone buzzed with an incoming message. "Idd is tomorrow", it read in part.
Meddie, my Muslim crony was inviting me over for some Pilau (what else could I have gone for?). So while I whined at Allah for not keeping the moon for an extra day, I was quite grateful for this invite, being my maiden appearance at an Islamic festivity.
All roads led to Kawempe for this sumptuous reception, and we were able trace Meddie's place after a few minutes’ drive from Wandegeya. The journey wasn’t without any hitches though. We were to stop near some school sign post, but this area has so many Muslim school sign posts that one ought to be moving at 10 Kph to read each of them.
So we missed the place by about 100 meters or so, but we were able to reach our destination one call later, amid quizzical glees from our hosts of the day.
We were immediately ushered into a reception hall (read dining room) and soon mingled with all present. In the room were several of Meddie's siblings, plus a few more others that yours truly did not try to find out much about.
As is the custom amongst many a muganda, all salutations were done while kneeling, the response to which turned out to be some sort of melodic discourse between the hosts and us, the guests.
For the next 30 minutes or so, we were treated to some mini-entertainment of sorts, watching a taped wedding reception in between introductory pleasantries and occasional chit chats.
It was not long before dishes started flowing in, along with 'ebigenderako', and filled with all tribes of meat (without the only permitted exception, of course). The sight of steam-oozing mashed matooke wrapped in banana leaves (ndagala) only served to whet my appetite further.
For a moment I wished I still had my high school appetite(I used to eat like I was hired to), but nonetheless my determination on the day could be read from my face by any faint-sighted mortal. The beads of sweat on my face seemed to suggest I had just overtaken Usain Bolt in the last bend of a 200m Olympics race!
The Visit to Jajja:
It was now time to let the food have its moment in our bellies as we sought to look beyond the fete, thinking about the next day's work and all. Meddie suggested paying a brief visit to his Granny, a few minutes’ drive from our host's place, to which we agreed. In the lawn, boys yapped away in inaudible tones while the girls ambled around the place with raw mangoes.
We then made way to the main house, and were finally able to see the long awaited Grandma-a dot com granny-if you ask me. Here, we were treated to some great entertainment from all the latest RnB one would think of, from Akon to our local crooners-the good ones of course.
It all played in the background, so I was unable to ascertain whether she had a resident DJ, or if she did the mixing herself. Granny is one big fan of RnB, and probably doesnt do hiphop-I didn’t hear any of Kanye West or Jay-Z during our brief visit.
I was almost tempted to get myself a copy of her collection, but a second thought suggested Meddie (I guess he got her the music). Fading sounds of OS with mamacita could still be heard in the background as the clock ticked away and darkness gradually set in.
We were now set for our return, at which point I had done away with my disappointment at celebrating Idd on a Sunday. I now looked forward to 9Th October, when I would have another public holiday in the name of Independence!
- Dan B Atuhaire