Recently I have come to the deep realization that I am the people who nurtured and groomed me as a child. I have always told myself that I am purely me with not as much influence of the people who have had a hand in my growing up.
My whole being is purely influenced by the seeds that were planted in me by the people I spent time with when I was a kid. The words and stories I heard have influenced several of my thought and the behaviors I display are not of my own attributions but rather a product of many people’s behaviors I interacted with that contributed to what looks like my blueprint.
It is known that in many traditional societies, the concept of “it takes a village to raise a child” is deeply ingrained. Uganda and Buganda societies are no different. The Buganda community of Kasubi, Lubya took care of me and held itself responsible for my well-being and development not forgetting my immediate and extended family plus the caregivers.
I remember the people I will call elders and mentors who make sure I was guided and taught. There was a Hajji (RIP) who was our neighbor at home who used to call me his wife that taught about the village culture and systems. Many others played the role of guides and teachers passing down traditions, wisdom, and knowledge about the community’s history, values, and customs.
Then there was the neighborhood support who we used to run to when we were out of salt or need some hot charcoal to light our stove. These were the same ones who would spread rumors and cause chaos for me at home. There were the babysitters and caretakers for me and my sister when the maids decided to quit.
In my village, we had collective celebrations. A household could not have one hit a milestone and celebrate alone. The village head or chairman was notified, who then made the announcements in the community and what was required of the members. Learning this made me feel that I belonged to a community of people who cared about us as a family and use them. I remember, when a thief entered our house one night, and we made alarms. The village members came to our rescue, got the thief, and sent him to the nearest police station.
When it came to the games we played as kids, I see elements of that informal education in the way I relate with people in any community I get in contact with. The environment I grew up in had the elderly who used to tell us stories and asked us questions about what we had learnt. One of those elders was my great-grandmother (RIP) who used to narrate stories to me, my siblings, and our friends. There was also that Hajji (RIP)who used to call him his wife, he told me some cool lessons about the history of the village.
One time I misbehaved in the village while I was out playing, and I was caned by a stranger. The lady really gave me 5 of the stick and sent me home, where she came and reported me to my mother who also gave me her own canes. Shared responsibility was a thing in my village. Every child was for the community and a representation of it. Slacking around when you were supposed to be out doing something well-known to the members of the community was a call for your disciplining moment. Members were accountable and responsible for each other
The parties we attended of the different celebrations in the community showcased to us people we considered to be role models. The ones who graduated from university, the ones who got into good schools, the ones who were getting married, and the ones who were building for their parents. These are the people who inspired us, and we talked about them a lot. Then the one who joined leadership positions. I remember one of my friend’s brothers joining politics and we were all impressed.
Overall, the village that nurtured me as a child by providing a supportive and caring environment helped me learn and grow, with guidance from the many multiple sources it availed to me. And I am grateful. I can never regret growing up in Kasubi, Lubya. I do not think I would be the person I am today if it was not for the community in that place.
Did you experience the same or more things as I did?