Lazy Saturday…Pensively Passes

Net Worth: Dowries

This morning I was sweeping and moping my house, a new weekend ritual, when the workers from BEL came around to continue work on the power lines. These boys have been working diligently on installing the power so many of them have become familiar faces. Some even know Buja by name. This time I was greeted by a new face. He offered to help me mop

It was clear by his lack of physical involvement that he was a manager of some sort. I was surprised by his offer, but I wanted to test the truth to his words. Being a man, this kind of work is easily left to a woman, Mzungu or not.

He walked over and I was quick to hand him the mop and bucket of muddy water. He told me to finish my part of the veranda first. I was still skeptical when he took the mop and with ease, began mopping the remaining part of the dirty veranda. I didn’t mind one bit; on one hand I felt satisfied that a man had taken some work away from me, but also because I could give my lower back a rest.

I have learned the “local bend” involved when cleaning, washing clothes or any other general work. It requires bending forward from the hips mimicking the silhouette of a flamingo. Generally the legs are straight which goes against everything I know from my yoga training, but truthfully, there is no better way to sweep with these short local brooms (made from dried shrubs).

As the man continued to mop, doing a satisfactory job at that, he asked if I was on Facebook because one of the other workers had looked up the name Stephanie in an attempt to find me (amongst the other thousands Stephanie’s in the world). He wanted to chat in the future, the impact of World Wide Web relationships are as far reaching as Uganda. I told him he didn’t even know me and if he wanted to chat we could talk face to face. I couldn’t tell how he took my response.

What happened next, was small token of my ‘in’ with a new family in the village. The boys began to laugh and not anticipating them to be speaking about me, I inquired about the laughter. My new friend said that Naffa (my grand mom, landlord and next door neighbor) had spoken up and said that if any of them wanted to marry me, the dowry would be ten cows.

You’ll be lucky to find someone with two cows let alone ten. Naffa had my back and she bestowed me with a high price for my hand in marriage.

Thanks Baba Naffa. Thanks!

Naffa on left with other neighbors
Naffa on left with other neighbors


Mini Buja Update


Buja with neighborhood boys
Buja with neighborhood boys

Buja seemed to have doubled in size while I was away in Rwanda. He now resembles a puppy compared to before when he looked like a furry hedge hog. I have started to train him to ‘ida’ (come) and ‘tyama’ (sit). We have been working on going to the bathroom outside but each night I have puddles of puppy pee on the floor. As he gets bigger, so do the puddles.

I had a numba (home) built for him in the back of my house, next to the garden. It is a very local job made of chopped up wood and some old tin roofing. With the rainy season just around the corner, I’m going to have to improve the roof before I become a guilt ridden mother.

Today I spotted Buja’s sister in the village. I knew becuase she had the exact same face but was significantly weaker, her rib bones visible beneath her messy fur. Her tail was tucked between her legs in the complete opposite direction of Buja’s, his tail very telling of his happy and mischievous demeanour. I wondered if Buja’s sibling even knows how to play. This is something that Buja is all to good at these days, sometimes to the point of testing my patience only because his ‘love’ bites are taking a toll on my ankles.

Even if I have no idea who will be Buja’s Mother once I leave, I’m happy to know that he is getting a better life than that of his sister.

Naffa with Buja
Naffa with Buja


Naffa with Buja
Naffa with Buja


I cleaned my house, caught up with some village friends and played with Buja. Today, life on the Nile was lazy. The day started overcast with some periods of drizzling. By midday the clouds cleared and the sun was out, but the coolness remained. A near perfect day in my mind.

The slowness of the day was needed. This week I struggled with remaining present. It was if some impedding urgency carried me from one task to the next. An illusion of course.

Overlooking the Nile, I allowed myself to slooowww down. This space gave way to some refelction of where I was in that moment, what had come before and where I was going. This wondering sometimes walks the tight rope of either feeling like excitment, anxiety or both. I know which option is more productive and healthy but the best option isn’t always the easiest.


The Waking

I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.
I learn by going where I have to go.

We think by feeling. What is there to know?
I hear my being dance from ear to ear.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Of those so close beside me, which are you?
God bless the Ground! I shall walk softly there,
And learn by going where I have to go.

Light takes the Tree; but who can tell us how?
The lowly worm climbs up a winding stair;
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Great Nature has another thing to do
To you and me, so take the lively air,
And, lovely, learn by going where to go.

This shaking keeps me steady. I should know.
What falls away is always. And is near.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I learn by going where I have to go.”
― Theodore RoethkeThe Collected Poems

One thought on “Lazy Saturday…Pensively Passes

  1. You are amaysing Steph. My friends in Arusha would LOVE for you to come there and work at the orphanage…I plan to go in Jan. if everything works out…Scott wil join me to go to where our hospital is in southern Tanzania for A FEW DAYS. iF YOU ARE AT ALL INTERESTED LET ME KNOW…lLOVE YOU BUNCHES gRANDMA

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