The familiar way home through the Busitema forest on the Jinja/Malaba/Nairobi Highway.
In less than forty-eight hours I will be leaving South Sudan for Uganda for three weeks Christmas holiday. It will be a great relief put behind me the heat and dust of the dry spell which seems to have just begun and also the stress of the past two months from increased insecurity around our premises from thieves looking for “Christmas” and also threats from state security agents for distributing “Ugandan” newspapers without authorization.
Gertrude home with the kids and their grandma in a past Christmas holiday
My love of physical fitness also nearly put me into big trouble with some locals here, generally referred to as Mondari who descended upon me one evening in late November near our guest house accusing me of running in the bush. Those fellows manhandled me and sat me on the dirt and threatened me with slaps before they finally let me go after much pleading, and me identifying one of them who often passes by our gate. That was the end of jogging and hiking for me in Juba. I only do indoor exercises now and if I go for walks, I take the dusty main road where everybody and traffic passes.
Family pose for a photo at the zoo
Unlike the in the recent past when I traveled home to Uganda by public transport which gave me the opportunity to observe and listen to what goes on in the buses, taxis and on the road, this time round, though, I will be driving the organisation’s van to Kampala. I will then proceed to Entebbe by public means to meet my family and from there we shall drive home to Tororo for Christmas in our family car.
Philemon and Mercy in the family Christmas 2012. When will I take the back seat and he drives me home for Christmas?
It will be a delight to travel home together with family unlike much of this year when I often traveled either alone or with the kids without their mom. The last time we had a ride together as a family was during a visit to Entebbe Zoo in late November. Trudy had not been to the zoo since she was pregnant with our first-born Philemon more than five years ago.
Philemon in green and Gertrude foreground on our last visit to Entebbe Zoo
This Christmas holiday will obviously have its own memories; notably it will be remembered as the year Nelson Mandela died and for sure the kids will be asking who Nelson Mandela was as they were curious about so much talk about him on TV. On a family level, though, two people of now blessed memory who we would normally visit at Christmas will be conspicuously missing. We shall greatly miss Auntie Eunice and Auntie Zerda who passed away mid this year.
Auntie Eunice gives a hen as a wedding gift on her visit to her home during the 2005 Christmas holiday
Other than visiting loved ones, Christmas time for me it is also a time when I celebrate both my birthday and wedding anniversary which are due on December 17. Not very long ago my son who is five now asked me if honey was his mom’s other name and I said yes. But very recently he asked me why I call his mom honey and he added, “Is it because she is my best friend?” And I again said yes. But smiling, he asked me another question; “Do you know that honey comes from bees and bees sting?” And I said yes.
Auntie Zerda, foreground on our visit to her during the Christmas holiday of 2008
Funny as it may appear, the MC on our wedding day, in a manner of advice said to me, “Moses, Gertrude is now your wife and you can call her honey but remember honey comes from bees and they sometimes sting.” And he went on to say, “Keep hold of hand lest it went shopping.” I have indeed kept hold of that hand and for sure it has not gone shopping but I have also known that honey is sweet but the sting of the sting of the bee if disturbed is not that sweet.
For sure, I have not let her hand go since our wedding day
Lastly the MC said to both of us; “It said that in the first year of marriage the man talks and the wife listens and in the second year the wife talks and the man listens. And in the third year they both talk and the neighbors listen but if you keep Jesus at the center of your marriage, the neighbors will have nothing to listen to.” Thank God, we have had our honey and dear and the stings too and the neighbors have had nothing to listen too except wonder how we are still so much in love like we wedded just yesterday.
If we could turn back the time, we would delightfully do so.
Have a blessed Christmas celebration and a happy new year!