We Wish You a Merry Christmas – from Uganda

It’s the end of another year and The Real Uganda wants to spread some good cheer!

2016 was quiet as far as volunteers are concerned, but we made a number of new partnerships that benefit Ugandan communities in other ways. Our work with Kain Foundation enabled Hopeline Organization to hold a series of family development meetings in Kkoba Village, aimed at building household peace, respect, and open communication. Hosting our first ever Global Youth Ambassador field tour, allowed us to show case our programs and development activities to young leaders from around the world. We look forward to hosting 2 more field tours in 2017.  Our brand-new affiliate partnership with Amazon.com is providing an income stream to help fund our high school scholarship program.

Want to get involved? Give a tap. You’ll be taken directly to Amazon.com. Search and shop for anything and they’ll give The Real Uganda 4%. Rad, eh?

While we’re still actively seeking volunteers for our variety of programs for 2017, the pressure is officially off! So let’s talk about what it’s like to spend Christmas in Uganda.

How we do Christmas in Uganda is a wonderful example of the ‘true spirit’ of the holiday. It’s not about consumerism. It’s about food, family, friends, and God. Uganda has a healthy Muslim population to keep everything going, so getting a week or more off work for Christians is usually no problem. Christians reciprocate during Eid holidays.

Ugandans work hard all year to get this week of rest, and typically rush out to their home village to get it. They arrive with city treats like bread, sugar, cooking oil, fancy mobile phones, and other fun stuff. In return, they’re treated to piles of mangoes and avocados, and tonnes of fresh slaughtered chicken. Days are spent digging in the family garden, preparing slow-cooked fresh meals, and swapping stories of how life has been the past year. Christmas in Uganda is an annual family reunion.

Ugandan women preparing local pancakes for a snack

Christmas day is feast day for sure. After a few early morning hours in church, the entire family gets involved in lunch preparation. Forget the one-carb rule. On the table you’ll find a bit of everything: matooke (steamed banana), yams, sweet potatoes, cassava, kalo (pounded millet), rice, pumpkin, and posho (maizemeal). For the relatively well-heeled, beef, goat, and chicken may also be on offer. For the vegetarians (full disclosure: I’ve not met a Ugandan vegetarian in my 12 years here) you’ll find g.nut (peanut) sauce, beans, and sautéed greens. All Ugandan foods are steamed inside banana leaves over a wood fire for hours. The taste has a depth you won’t find anywhere else.

We feast in good health, as family, for the upcoming year.

Now how does that sound?

Happy holidays from The Real Uganda – looking forward to a peaceful 2017!

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