Eradde nyabo

Bakers Posted by Paul and Tania Baker on Mon, 20 Jan 2014 | 1 comments | Bookmark: digg this Post this to Post this to Facebook

This is a phrase I have heard and replied to many times in the 2 weeks since we have returned to Kiwoko, Uganda. ‘Nyabo’ means madam. ‘Eradde’ – for being such a small word means a lot.

Greeting someone is a very important part of Ugandan culture and so when we first had L’uganda lessons 3 years ago, the first thing we learned was how to greet people. We learned that in the morning you ask ‘how was your night?’, and in the afternoon or evening you ask ‘how has been the day?’ You must then ask how their family are and finally you should thank them for their work (whether they are currently doing any work or not). It was with some relief that after 6 months away we still remembered all these vital Ugandan phrases.

But, ‘Eradde’ is less commonly used in greeting someone you see everyday. It tends to be used more with people you don’t see very often, so I have heard it a lot on our return. What I like most about it is the response to it is the same word. So I don’t have to try and remember the correct Ugandan response, I just repeat the word.
But that’s not the only thing I like about it – it’s what it means that is so special. There is no English word that is a direct translation for Eradde. It means ‘Is it very peaceful?’ So when you have not seen someone for a while you are saying, ‘I don’t know how your life is going or where you have been but I hope you have been at peace.’ What a beautiful sentiment summed up in one word.

It reminds me of the words of Jesus to his disciples in John 14 v 27:

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives, do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

Living between 2 vastly different cultures is a strange life. Our 6 months in Ireland were wonderful but returning to Uganda has also been wonderful. I guess we could say we have felt ‘at peace’ in both places. Yes things can be difficult, challenging, and just downright maddening at times. That’s how the world gives. But no matter where we are we have peace in knowing Jesus is there.

So my response is ‘Eradde nyabo’ – It is peaceful, madam.



Stuart said Fri, 31 Jul 2015 07:01AM
Wow! That's great. I am Ugandan living out Uganda, and its just a blessing to read your post, and work and loving interest in Uganda. Thank you.

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