A Reflection of My Life after living in Uganda as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Auntie Nalu

In Buganda everyone has a name and that name is attached to a clan. My Kigandan name is Nalubega. I am part of the Ngabi (antelope) clan which means I can't eat antilope. You also cannot marry within your own clan. Ugandans love when you have a traditional name and when you know the history of your name. Knowing your clan, who the head of your clan is and the names of others in your clan is essential for connecting with other Bugandans or many Africans.

Several people in my community call me by my Kigandan name only. They don't even know my name is Amanda. The other morning I got in a taxi very early to go to a meeting in Kampala. Usually the taxi's fill up before they leave but this time the conductor got in and shut the door and we took off. I was the only one in the taxi besides the driver and the conductor. At first I got really nervous. We've been advised to never get in an empty taxi because it can lead to danger. I was about to ask to be let out when the conductor turned to me and said, "Aunti Nalu (short for Nalubega), wasuze otya?" Meaning: Aunti Nalu, good morning how are you? We then continued through the long morning greeting process and I knew I was safe. We continued to pick up other passengers along the way until we were full and then headed into the city.

There is safety when people know who you are. There is also safety is identifying with others using their native language. This driver and conductor loved that I could greet them. They knew me and were going to get me safely to my destination.


1 comment:

  1. I love reading all of your adventures - I'm glad you did not get mugged/raped/or killed in the taxi :)
    All those prayers - baby!