Thursday, April 25, 2013

Jjaja Omukyala

The hard but cool cement of the veranda is home to this beautiful old jjaja omukyala (grand woman). Every day I pass by on my way to the main road and again on my way home. Without fail, she is there keeping her hands and her mind busy. I wave and shout out, “Wasuse otya, jjaja” and she waves back and shouts her reply. About once each week I stop and sit with her while we exchange the few words of Luganda that I know along with a few grunts and pointing. Other than greetings, I can usually tell her where I’m going and what I’m doing but not much more than that. I always depart from that short sitting by saying, “Mukama akuwe omukisa” (God bless you).

This day I waited for someone to meet me nearby and while I waited jjaja handed me her weaving project. A basket. She showed me how to weave that basket and I made a couple stitches and then wondered at the strength she has in her hands. A couple thousand shillings and a few hours later and that jjaja handed me my new basket.

I LOVE my neighbors – young and old!