By Evelyn Masaba
It is about that time of the year again, that time when the rains are heavy and the roads are jampacked. Christmas season is upon us and this is not just about the Boney M and Philly Lutaaya music playing through all the shops and malls around Kampala but it’s about how the season brings most people together.
Of course in Uganda, the way we celebrate Christmas might be a little different from how other countries do it. It’s the age old reverse migration where thousands of people pack up and leave Kampala for their villages, the city becomes less busy and quite empty that you can walk through town without fear of motorists knocking you.
Around December 22, you will notice how the taxi and bus parks will be busier than usual and bursting with crowds of people trying to find their way to the countryside. Most of these people are usually late travellers who have been too occupied to make it to the village early enough. During Christmas season, bus and taxi fares are usually hiked twice the amount you pay within the year and the vehicles fill up with passengers within minutes of parking, meaning that if you are on the way out of town you have to leave either early in the morning, midday or later in the evening.
Not all families do Village Christmas every year though and in this case Christmas season is a time to travel either out of the country to an exotic destination or around Uganda to see the national parks or go hiking.
By the time the children are done with school, everything is already planned out and these experiences are very important for children. Travelling is a good way to spend Christmas with family, no matter where you are going; the village or exotic locations, a change of scenery is good for the mind.
Ever since childhood, most Ugandans have always looked forward to what is called “Village Christmas” and what it brings to the season. It’s even about the big saucepans of food being prepared or the chicken chasing game the youngsters will engage in and it’s not about how the ladies will be busying themselves around the kitchen trying to create magic for everyone who has travelled.
Village Christmas is about the spirit of family and of giving, it is easier to share a big meal with your neighbours out of town than it is with those in town. The excitement that comes with going to an old stone church with browning furniture and singing old hymns in your local language is quite heart warming.
Village Christmas is about how you feel when you see several happy children running around in cute brand new clothes that they are scared to soil because they love the fresh feel of them. It is about how your grandmother lights up when you bring your plate back for a second helping of your favourite because you know her food always tastes the best.
The feeling of family as you meet different family members that you have not seen in a very long time and catch up like you last saw them yesterday.
Yes, the season is upon us. Whether the year has not been the best for you in all aspects of life, getting on the road with that bubbling excitement about spending days with your family can help you forget the troubles that befell you with the year. This is the season to be happy, jolly and celebrate a year of getting new experiences and looking forward to making new ones next year.