Denise’s fantastic burgers and baps.

Wilsons_2013 Posted by Rory Wilson on Sat, 16 Oct 2010 | 0 comments | Bookmark: digg this Post this to Post this to Facebook

Living in a country other than the one you have been brought up in has many opportunities. Tasting another culture – figuratively and literarily is a wonderful blessing indeed. Uganda is a beautiful country and its people are beautiful in appearance, dress and spirit.

But something makes home home.

When speaking at prayers last week I quoted a Ugandan proverb – Awolungi teewaba wamweh – which more or less translated means that however fantastic someone else’s home is, if it’s not your home, then your home (however humble) is better.
Like all proverbs, it catches an element of truth, but it can be overstated. When I’ve been away on a holiday it’s good to get back home – to where I know where the tea bags stay, where the chocolate is hidden, home is where I can throw my legs up on the sofa and fall asleep.

Obviously as I write that, I mean here in Kiwoko as home.
However there is always still as sense that I am an alien in Uganda.

It is great it is to be able to grow pineapples and bananas, to bask in tropical heat almost any day of the year, to regularly see wild mongoose, antelope, otter, and amazing birdlife, to see life in a much less cluttered way and faith in a more simple yet profound way.

But when Niall visits (as he just has) we can talk at normal speed without having to dis-norn-iron-articulate my words. I can make quips relating to shared experiences or happenings in the town of Bangor we grew up in or school we attended, we can jest about politics, wives, parents, religion – and know that no offence will be taken or has been intended.

Food is such a homely thing though too. Can anyone make a birthday cake as well as one’s mother makes one? It’s not just the great taste – but that taste reminds me (without almost even noticing) of all those birthday moments – parties in the back garden as a child, family get togethers with cousins and relatives, Granda falling asleep in the deckchair with a knotted hankie over his head. With those sorts of subliminal memories, how can it not taste good?

They talk of third culture kids – children (like Gideon) who are neither fully at home being Ugandan nor Northern Irish. All of us who travel from our birthplace get a little bit of that – even if it’s only from Bangor to Ballymena, or Enniskillen to Edinburgh. But I’ve discovered a secret to stay happy in a foreign culture – embrace it yes, but don’t be afraid or ashamed to do some things from ‘home’ too. Food seems to be a really important part of that. I quite enjoy eating posho (ground up corn turned into a very solid ‘porridge’) and beans, and even eating them with my hand rather than cutlery – but not for every meal every day. Having a wife who can produce burgers in a bap (burgers and baps both produced from our kitchen) is a matter for celebration indeed. No MacDonald’s in the nation, but what a tasty dinner. Best burgers in town today!

So my remedy for crossing those cultural barriers with enthusiasm – bring a wife as beautiful and gifted as mine!

cheers for now


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