May 21, 2016

Day 7

07

The day after our first conference, we were able to relax a little. In the morning, we got to go to New Life Baptist, Richmond’s church, and play with the children in the surrounding area. At first only a few kids really close by came to play, but as word spread that Muzunga were playing in the area, the yard was full of children. Activities ranged from playing soccer, jumping rope, blowing bubbles, and we even taught the children how to play duck-duck-goose! There was also a group that just sat and talked with us about all sorts of things. For being in an impoverished area, the kids are very smart. We met a few young adolescents that were well-versed in four languages: English, Lugandan, French, and Spanish! (Do not ask me why African children needed to know French or Spanish, because I have no idea.) 

After playing, we got to teach the children bible songs and got them to sing along and dance with us! Maggie also gave a brief speech about the gospel and why we were in Uganda. We told the kids to come to church tomorrow on Sunday, and then proceeded to hand out Snickers bars to all of the kids. (We even got a stand in videographer so Grace could join in the singing!)

We left the church and went back to go back to the hotel to prepare for Arthur and Becca’s Uganda wedding. They got married in the states, but Arthur wanted a Ugandan wedding. The men in our group were given traditional African shirts to wear, and the women wore traditional African dresses called Mushananas. 

The wedding started at New Life Baptist at 2:00 PM, and was actually quite similar to all of the weddings that I had attended. The reception was at the Rest Gardens, which was an incredibly beautiful place. The ceremony was full of speeches and watching traditional African dancing. The thing that was strangest to us was that the guests did not dance the entire time until the very end of the reception. Between that was an endless barrage of speeches upon speeches, with some song and dance performances in-between. The highlight for most of us was the group The Harmonics. They were an acapella group that were absolutely magnificent, especially when they sang Lion Sleeps Tonight. By the end of the wedding, most of the Baylor crowd was finding it hard to stay entertained, as we had spent the last eight hours just sitting down. However, the bride had suggested that we bring a couple songs to show the Ugandans, and around 10:00 PM, our chance to finally dance came on. We showed them the Cha-Cha slide and the Cupid shuffle, finishing with One Dance by Drake. It was a great time, as the Ugandans joined in immediately and were thrilled that the Muzunga could dance. Culturally, it was shocking to them that we would dance with them, for multiple reasons. First, the Africans have a saying: “Muzunga can’t dance.” We proved them very wrong with that, and it was the subject of discussion the rest of the night. The other reason they were taken aback by our dancing with them was the fact that they considered us as upper classmen, and that the rich do not dance with the poor. It was great showing them that we loved them as our equals, and the fact that we got to do so by singing and dancing was a joy.