Across the train tracks from Danita (quite literally) is the village of Soweto. The past two Sundays, some of the Suubi ladies have taken Amberle, Melissa, Katie and I over around 5 pm, and shown us something truly amazing about their culture. These women are Acholi. And several times a week, they dance. Ohhhh, do they dance.
The walk into the village is almost surreal. As soon as you cross into Soweto (over the train tracks), your nostrils are filled with the smell of latrines, your feet are covered in red, red dust, and your hands are grabbed by a growing crowd of 10, 20, 30 children who follow you all the way to your destination. A large clearing which is soon filled by the "Luo Foundation Group," a group of men and women and even jja jjas. They are often drinking homemade spirits, or water, as they start to play on drums made of gourds and some made of cow hide.
The women place us in the midst of the line of dancers, and we dance barefoot until the twilight (when we must begin to find enough pikis to reach home). The drumming is amazing; the women dance with such joy and such a spirit... I wish I could do it justice with just words. You know that you are horrible at this dancing, but they love for you to participate. Amberle says we are like Mzungu television: they will yell and holler if we do well or if we do poorly. And oh, do they yell. "Ai-yi-yi-yi!!!!" is the main cry. There's a huuuuuuge crowd, half children and half teens and adults.
The whistles sound and we dance, we attempt footwork and cabina-shaking that white people just cant do... but it's liberating. The women cheer, and Mama Santa gives us lots of thumbs up. Even the other Mama Santa joins in on dancing and drums... it's amazing.
It's been one of my favourite experiences here... to kick up the dust and then when we get home, watch it run in rivers of red from our feet as we shower and end the day in our nice, ultra-nice home... even in Jinja, we are so blessed. I'm so thankful to LGH for letting me come and see another side of Jinja... it's really something.