Day 3 – Greetings

Tea time is always a fun adventure. There is no breakfast but there is a great 1030 Tea Time where the whole school stops and enjoys some tea. A few of my students enjoy teaching me the greetings in various languages, which is quite a challenge. They have 56 distinct languages for the various tribal families that populate a nation the size of South and North Carolina combined.

The most important one to learn here in Buganda (the central Kingdom of Uganda) is, “Wah two zo tja” which means, “How was your night?” Gordon, one of my students, went on to explain that the use of that phrase really means so much more. They want to know if you arrived safely through the night or if you needed help now that it is morning. In his words, “We want to know if you were attacked… or if the kid kicked the candle and made a fire… or if someone in your house got sick. And if you do have a problem… we want to know so we can help”. He then went on to say, “We’re not like you in the west. We believe in community and we want to help our neighbor”. He didn’t mean anything by words that felt like a “dig”… then again… he’s absolutely right! Those are all visceral realities that really happen in the majority of the world. However, we plastically cover over all those things to try to avoid pain as much as possible. Part of my wonders if we don’t do it so we can be independent from others and having to rely on community?

The good news is that the return prase, generally, is “bell oon ge”. Which means “it is good”. The best thing to realize is that we serve one who can make all things good. Even though we live our lives in the shadow of evening… we wake by the grace of the one who can say, “it is good”.

Of course… it always surprises people here on the streets when I say, “Wah two zo tja”. They’re not used to hearing a Muzungu (white guy) use their language.