The women come. They walk. They sit. For hours. Honoring the dead.
Last week I witnessed a beautiful cultural spectacle in Uganda. A community leader, and a friend, was killed in a bus accident. The sudden tragic loss of the Rev. Canon Enos Komunda shocked and mobilized the community,
Above, Bishop Dan Zoreka looks out over mourners gathered outside home of late Enos Komunda
I arrived at the family home with my wife hours after receiving news of his death. By then there were several hundred women and men sitting quietly inside and outside the home, in a vigil of support.
Hundreds more were preparing for the funeral service and burial the next day. They would come on foot from their villages and homes, a trip that would take hours, to participate in this community send off. Committees were formed to provide chairs, tents and food for the huge crowd.
Life in Uganda is simple and hard. There are few distractions to daily subsistence living. The people value family, community, fellowship, sharing sorrows. It is something to behold.
Christmas in Africa. A heckuva lot different from any other I’ve spent. So much day-to-day existence it’s hard for me to see trappings of the season. A few decorated trees. Strains of “Joy To the World” heard now and again.
Am here in Kabale, Uganda, with my adopted family. Sons, daughters and grandchildren expected here over next few days. It’ll be noisy, perhaps chaotic…just like home in USA.
Been invited to a Christmas Day service at a small village church near Bwindi Gorilla Haven, our hotel project. Dirt floors, mud walls, loads of spirit and energy make up the worship space. I expect this to be a highlight event!
Got a card yesterday from my son, Dan, that made my day. Takes a bit of planning to get a card or gift here or there. Plan on two weeks.
My faith keeps me company this Christmas. So many memories and traditions that I’ve followed for decades.
This year am surrounded by friends and the unfamiliar, pleased with a playlist of Christmas carols.
Nohiri nungi. Merry Christmas.
Obusingye bube naiwe omu mwaka. Peace be with you in the new yea (Rukiga)
Krismasi. Amani na iwe nanyi katika mwaka mpya. Merry Christmas. Peace be with you in the new year. (Swahili)