Monday, January 30, 2012

Lost on the Way to the Jjajas

“We’re going the wrong way…” I said. “We’re going the wrong way…” I said a few more times. Vickie asked, “What’s the difference between a forest and a jungle.” I admitted that a dictionary would be most useful but guessed a forest to be trees and a jungle to include vines and lots of undergrowth. Regardless…we were somewhere…not where we should have been. Finally, after about 5 kilometers of no path and thorny roots tearing at my ankles, Joshua finally acknowledged that we were lost on the way to the Jjajas. We did, however, find some amatungulu (wild passion fruit) along the way and we, as Vickie reminded us all, “had an adventure.”

Finally arriving at the jjajas, some sweet pineapple was waiting. The three beautiful jjajas – late 80s and early 90s – worried that they’d not be alive long enough for their muzungu friend to see them again. They were so pleased to see us emerge from the long path with gifts in tow. We plunked down and replenished our  reserves with all the sweet, sticky juice from those pineapples the jjajas grow. Getting lost seemed a distant memory after that treat.

As is the custom, the jjajas felt obligated to serve food – and we enjoyed matooke with gee-nut sauce (boiled banana with peanut sauce) – although we had already stuffed ourselves with pineapple. Such sweet ladies. I always look forward to our restful visit on their beautiful compound. These old ladies work hard digging in their gardens every day. I’m constantly in awe of all they accomplish as I listen to their bones creak and watch other signs of pain as they lower and raise themselves to and from the ground. Muzungu are so soft.
Betty (friend of Vickie and now me), Vickie, and oldest jjaja.
This jjaja has massive swelling in her knees and she begged me to bring her some medicine.
Any suggestions? What could possibly be the problem
with this 92 year old woman digging in the garden all day?

Youngest jjaja at 80 something.

The jjaja's beautiful compound. Plus they grow food all over the place too.
Can you imagine? 92 years old and working in the garden all day digging...
because you have to?

Vickie, Aunt Robina, Jjaja Ida (Vickie's actual Jjaja), and youngest jjaja