Dinner Party... Karimojong style

The doctor has moved into his new house and the staffs (yes I said staffs…. that is what you say here in Uganda) were eagerly waiting to see his new place. It was decided after much discussion to have dinner together on Thursday night. The menu was planned with care, the cost was determined, the food was bought, and finally the day arrived. The staffs agreed to prepare the food, and the medical students eagerly awaited the adventure of preparing a traditional meal.

We finished up with work at the clinic by three, and the preparations began. Seeing how our main dish was still alive… we probably should have gotten an early start, but there was no what to do now. So we began with the main dish: the goat. This meal preparation was not for the weak of heart or the squeamish (or the vegetarians or the animal lovers, sorry). We recruited our mighty watchman and watched as he expertly slit the goat’s throat, drained the blood and then went directly at the task of skinning the animal. I decided to be a vegetarian for the evening. I don’t mind assisting in the meal preparation, but I have yet to be able to eat meat that I helped prepare in this fashion. Finally we got started on the other aspects of the meal: frying the beans, frying the greens, mixing chapatti dough, frying chapatti’s, etc. I lent my hand and made the chapatti dough, and was told that I am well on my way to becoming a “senior” (aka a pro). There was a general buzz of activity and the food was well its way. We had to shuffle pots a bit to fit all the food, but all in all it worked out. Several hours later as my eyelids were turning to lead, they declared that the food was ready. However, they themselves were not ready. Thirty minutes later everyone is bathed and dressed smart except for me J. I am still in my work clothes and have chapatti all over my shirt. Ahh well, what to do?

We load up the food and the people into the vehicle and proceed to Doctor’s house. I am warned to drive carefully and not hit the bumps so as to not spill the food. I just laugh. If you have driven on our roads you know it is impossible to not hit the bumps even on the less than 1-kilometer stretch between the clinic and Doctor’s house.

Arriving at Doctor’s house we carry the food in, arrange ourselves and get the party started. Here in Uganda it the custom to wash your guests hands before the meal, but seeing how we have running water we asked them all to use the bathroom and wash their hands. The other custom is for the hosts to serve food to the guests, so Jim and I got to work dishing up the food. We piled rice, meat, beans, greens, and chapatti on everyone’s plate. The plates were overflowing with food! It was so fun to fill their plates, and watch them come back for more. The most impressive eaters were Lotee and Lomuria. They are our slashers (grounds crew) and they speak almost no English. Although we did discover Lomuria’s new phrase is “It’s ok” which he said about 20 times throughout the night. J Anyway, back to their eating abilities, WOW! Those guys can pack it away! Of course they “couldn’t” serve themselves so I would sit down to start eating, and one of them would come back for more. I think they must have filled their plates four or five times! They promised they would have plenty of strength for slashing the next day! ;)

We were finishing dinner, and enjoying one another’s company when Leah and I looked at each other aghast as we realized we were getting front row auditory privileges we didn’t want. You see we thought people were just going to wash their hands in the bathroom again, but no they were relieving themselves and somehow did not realize it would be proper etiquette to close the door. Oh my. Note to self: Teach our friends to close the door behind them.

All in all it was a lovely evening despite my otherwise exhausted state of being. The doctor was welcomed to his house, and good food was enjoyed by all!


Monica 6:53 AM  

Great story, Jenny! Especially that last part:)

About Me

My name is Jenny. I am a sinner that has been redeemed by the blood of Christ, and I want to share the grace and love He has shown me with others. I am a nurse living and working in Uganda, and I am praying that God would make Matthew 5:16 true of my life.
"Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven."
Enjoy snippets from my journey as I step out in faith day after day.