*Warning: This one gets a little romantic….if you can’t handle it you may want to stop now.
Joseph wanted to take me to meet his family. It had been precisely two weeks since our first date. I was excited to meet them. He told me that he had never before taken a girl home and that they didn’t believe that he was about to now. As we rode in the taxi his mother and his sister each called him several times, not really convinced that he was actually coming nor that he was in fact bringing a girl with him.
The taxi ride was long but Joseph and I talked the whole way and a few hours flew by like minutes. We arrived in Kampala at Joseph’s aunt’s house where his Mother and Sister were currently staying.
Joseph taught me the respectful greeting for his mother. We entered the little house to see Joseph’s mother sitting on the floor. She held out her hands to us with the biggest smile on her face. “Eladay Niabo” I said, surprising her with my limited knowledge of Luganda. We sat and soon Joseph’s sister Tinah entered the room.
Tinah had been assaulted and robbed in her home a few days before and the intruder had slashed her fingers with a machete. They were bandaged and broken. She joined us and after awhile when Joseph asked if I would be ok if he left me with them for a few minutes I agreed. “Gende, Gende,” I told him shooing him away. “We have girl talk that you can’t be here for.” After he left Joseph’s mother got very real with me. “Do you love him?” she asked me rather pointedly. I assured her that I did. “Never before has he been interested in a girl like this she told me. When he first met you he called me and told me that he had just gone on a date with the woman of his dreams. Joseph wouldn’t say that unless its true, he has been looking for some time and has had many opportunities to marry and he has never found the right one. You must promise to marry him!”
I chocked a little on the dry cake that I was eating. I stammered, not sure what to say to this mother.
“When you get married,” I said, “the preacher says until death do you part. In my religion, we believe that marriage is much more than that. We believe that when you marry it is not only for time but for all eternity as well. Eternity is a very long time and deciding who I spend it with is a big decision. It’s not one that I can make after knowing someone for only two weeks.” I told her hoping she would understand.
She accepted my answer and we continued our visit. “What is Joseph like when he is angry” I asked her being just as direct with her as she was with me.
She thought carefully about her answer.
“He is very quiet, and when he gets that way you have to ask him what is wrong and show him that you care so that he will tell you what is bothering him.” She told me.
That sounded like the Joseph I knew. So far I wasn’t uncovering much on him that he hadn’t already told me himself.
Joseph’s other sister,
Asha joined us, She was very friendly, beautiful and sweet. She sat next to me and held my hand and insisted that I call her Mulamu (sister-in-law)
Both girls giggled when I obliged them and gladly called them Mulamu Tinah and Mulamu Asha.
When it came time for us to leave all three of them walked us back to the taxi. They said goodbye with big hugs and we promised to come visit them again. “Marry my son.” His mother told me as she hugged me goodbye. “I always knew he would one day marry a white woman and move away from us. He was never meant for Uganda.”
I had to agree with her on one point. Joseph did not belong in Uganda.
We rode the taxi back to JInja and then we took a boda boda to Sister Gertrude’s house where I would be spending the night.
It was dark when we got back to JInja and as we flagged down a boda driver I decided that I was going to try riding as the Ugandan women did. Side saddle with both legs on the same side of the motorcycle. I got on and with Joseph behind me it was easy to keep my balance. One hand rested on each of his legs and I turned to talk to him. It was easier to see his face as we rode this way and I decided that the Ugandan women had a good thing going.
I only had to turn my head a little to be able to talk to him, as I did he playfully stuck his tongue out at me and instead of pulling away as I am sure he expected I would I leaned toward him. I had learned a thing or two about teasing from my brothers and I knew better than to give him what he expected. He also must have known a thing or two as well because his response wasn’t what I expected either. He kissed me, long and hard as the world flew passed us. I forgot about the boda driver, about everything except the two of us. Finally fearing that we would both lose our balance and fall off the motorcycle we stopped. I giggled a little as I looked at him, feeling a little sheepish. I had no idea who might have seen us. But with the stars twinkling over head, and the cool night air racing passed us. I felt like the moment was everything I had dreamed of as a child and more, and I didn’t care.