Field Day, Feast Day

This post will actually be short and mainly be told through pictures. Here goes.

The Acholi, like many people, enjoy feasts and festivities. And considering the years they lived in fear and war, boy can they throw a partay! (We Americans were not that bad either, but more on that later.) School closed during every celebration while we were there. When we arrived, the town was celebrating the Ugandan Martyrs Day, a day commerating the deaths of 22 Catholic converts who died for their beliefs in Christianity. About a week later the secondary schools in our district competed in track and field events. This was an all day affair in the sorching heat. I will take the time to brag here: Our team came back champions and I felt bad for my colleagues’ teams. (Yeah right!)

These meets were qualifying meets for the National competitions that were to be held in Gulu for the first time in about twenty-five years (remember, Gulu is in Uganda’s wartorn Northern region). Pece is a stadium that holds approximately 30,000 people. There are few bleechers and the track is delineated in the grass. During the course of the event, there were many events occuring simultaneously and I was somewhat upset that I missed the javelin and diskus throws. It was sometimes hard to know what school a team was from because the uniforms are varied. Generally, there are no team colors and the economic status of an athlete is manifested in their running attire. Many students, especially the girls it seems, piece together a uniform of whatever they find that will allow some freedom of movement. Remarkably, some students ran in brand name sneakers while others ran in their bare feet. It was a rousing, albeit hot day and I enjoyed bonding with the students.

The last celebration done by the Ugandans was Feast Day. I am not clear why this day is celebrated, but festivities were done in grand style. The day started early with students and staff preparing for 300+ guests. The Home Ec students prepared food for the students and I believe some food was catered. I was a server for the day, again standing in scorching sunlight (I am originally from Florida so why did this bother me?).  Still, I really felt like I was a part of the people that day. It was bitersweet because we were leaving Gulu the next day so all the girls wanted to take pictures and get my address. I really wanted to cry, especially when I realized I would not hear their beautiful voices for a year or more. We were supposed to record the girls’ singing that day but we were behind schedule so we were not able to record. Simon said (no pun intended) he’d attempt to record the songs then bring the camera to me in the morning…you’ve heard the story already and hopefully have listened to the video. The point is, I was unconsciously missing the ladies already and I became the classic worry wart. Anyway it all worked out and I play the girls’ video frequently when I am sad.

That’s the story.  I share the people and pictures with you in the pages marked Field Day videos, Feast Day pictures and videos, and traditional dancing. Enjoy! Apwoyo!

Advertisements
Published in: on September 7, 2009 at 4:33 am  Leave a Comment