Bae was white and despite his effort to conceal it, this fact brought my dad great displeasure and me great pleasure. It sure felt good sticking it to the man.
“Chief, you were able to trace your way to the village from all those years ago?” asked my old man in an effort to get his mind off the fact that bae was white.
“We had google maps for the trip down from the airport at Entebbe to Masaka, the only bit that took memory was the path from the market square and how could I forget that given the humiliation I suffered on that route.”
At that remark everyone in the tent laughed, feeling left out of the joke, bae short me a questioning glance.
“Later,” I whispered and at that, she was satisfied.
“How was the drive down?” my old man went on to ask?
We went on to speak about the horrible state of the Ugandan roads, how slow the internet services were, the weather and a dozen other inconsequential things before my dad got around to asking for what I knew he wanted to ask for from the moment he said Hi.
“Did you secure the merchandise?” He asked.
“Yes, I did,” I said referring to the twelve bottles of one liter William Lawson blended scotch whiskey I had in the trunk. When I had called my dad from Nairobi to inform him that bae and I would be traveling down to Masaka, he had made one simple request. So, I brought him enough Whiskey to incapacitate the entire village for a day or two hopefully that will keep him off my back and out of sight for the duration of the funeral.
At that, I led my dad an uncle and my grandma to the car and gave them what I had to give them. Bae came along too to get a few things out of her suitcase. While at the car, two male cousins from Nabiang’s side came over. They needed help the gravediggers claimed they would not dig an inch until their Changaa arrived; Changaa is a locally brewed form of alcohol that is probably illegal. That was not the worst part; the changaa could only be acquired `from the witchdoctors homestead and the only person that knew the route accessible by car was Lillian. So Lillian and I set off to acquire the gravedigger’s currency and bae was taken to go join my female cousins.
“So, how have you been?” I asked in an effort to lighten the mood in the car.
“Fine, take the next right, How have you been?” Replied Lillian rather coldly.
“I have been surviving,” I replied.
“Don’t be modest, your dad has told everyone that you are some kind of celebrity figure in Kenya so I know you are not surviving.”
“I can’t hold brief on the celebrity bit of my dad’s claims seeing as that’s his opinion but I’ll admit, life is not treating me bad.”
“At least that makes one of us. What’s with the muzungu? You know that’s the question on everyone’s mind right?”
“Well, I wanted to be 100% certain that the woman I marry isn’t in any way related to me so I went as far away from black as I could.”
At this, she laughed.
We got to the witchdoctors homestead got the changaa and left. On our way back, Lillian filled me up on her life. She had ended up becoming a teacher at the village primary school where parents did not respect her and that trickled down to her students. In addition, her love life was non-existent because no man in the village wanted a serious relationship with her.
“How would they introduce me to their parents after what happened between us? What family would allow their son to marry Lillian? And better yet where is the man with balls enough to ignore what people say about me in this village?”
She went on to explain that unlike me she did not have the option of a foreign partner at which point we remained in silence all the way back to Nabiang’s homestead.
I delivered the changaa to the gravesite then thought I should go check up on bae but the two cousins again snatched me up before I could act on that thought. This time, the local Ohangla band that was supposed to provide entertainment during the night vigil was stuck because the pick-up that was supposed to ferry them and their equipment broke down. It took me two trips to ferry the band and all their equipment from the pick-up point to Nabiang’s homestead.
As soon as I dropped off the last batch of Ohangla men, my two cousins snatched me up again, this time we had to go and negotiate the price of the bull that would be slaughtered for the meal after Nabiang’s funeral the next day. The homestead we were supposed to acquire the bull from was so close I could toss a stone and hit the roof but they insisted on driving over because Grandpa Phillip who was essential to the negotiations was too drunk to walk. We conducted the negotiations agreed on a price but because Grandpa Phillip was so drunk, he had forgotten to carry the money intended to pay for the bull, I was asked to pay with the promise of a refund I never saw. I drove my drunken grandpa back and left my two cousins to follow behind on foot with the bull.
After reuniting my grandpa with the rest of his drinking mates, I sent word to bae via one of my female cousins, whom I had the good fortune of crossing paths with that I would be in the car then I made my way to the SUV keen to avoid running into my two cousins.
I must have slept for about an hour or two when bae joined me in the SUV. She had been invited to join the welcoming committee, they had welcomed more guest and she had danced awkwardly well into the night. They had also boiled getheri and a black tea she said, then went around serving it to the multitude at the vigil. From her narration of events, it was hard to miss the fact that bae was having a blast. Good for her.
To be continued…