Being adopted

In the last year, students have offered to get me a cat to try to fill Meri’s void. I have always declined, as I was either mourning or enjoying the concept of not being held down by a pet.

Apparently, the Lord thought it was time to fill the void.

In between rains on Monday, a canine peeped into my home office window and said hello. I thought he might be a friend’s dog, so I went out to see whether he was hurt. It wasn’t her dog, but this dog joyously jumped on me to say hello. And then he tried to come inside.

Local dogs generally are not terribly friendly, and tend to shy away from people. But not this boy. He made himself home on the verandah. Since he was so comfortable with me, I thought he had a family. I posted about him on Facebook, on Tuesday, hoping to find his family, but my friends told me that it seemed that I was chosen.

Sweet puppy kept coming around, and seemed to enjoy escorting me to chapel. So I caved, and admitted that I was adopted. Meet Tucker.

A SAMS Bridger here, also named Jessica, named him. Tucker is appropriate, as I lecture in the Bishop Tucker School of Divinity and Theology. And he wears it well. I heard that he joined the Sunday School children on stage in church on Sunday, so it’s appropriate that he’s named after Bishop Tucker.

My students are amused with my morning escort, though they’re less amused that he parked himself in the doorway this morning, as dogs are usually security, and they are leery of maneuvering around him, despite my assurance of their safety.

I’m amazed at how quickly I’ve taken to Tucker. It’s quite a comfort to see him sitting on the verandah. I’m not about to confess how many times I’ve asked him “who’s a good boy?!” I’m a cat person. I told him this. He wasn’t impressed.

I have no idea why God brought Tucker into my life. I’m sure this sweet puppy with the crazy ears has a lot to teach me.

Making matooke

Making matooke

Over the last couple years, my discipleship group has become accustomed to an end of semester party. When we were studying the 39 Articles, we dubbed it the 40th Article. This semester, we studied spiritual disciplines, so we called it the Discipline of Fellowship.

Brian and Saul wanted to make matooke, the staple food for the Baganda, and fish. All I had to do was provide the kitchen and tea after. Sounds like a win! I had no idea how matooke was made, and was very interested to learn.

Brian brought over the matooke, fish, and spices (vegetables to make the sauce: tomatoes, onions, and green pepper). Then he started peeling the matooke. My knives have never had such a workout. Saul came and joined in the work, and soon enough, they were done.

 

Brian moved to the kitchen and began to work on the fish and sauce, while Saul continued with the matooke. He had retrieved some banana leaves and banana bark, and he placed the latter in a bowl crosswise, then a few banana leaves. Then he added the matooke. I was convinced it would never fit, but he proved me wrong. He then added more leaves, then tied it all tightly with the bark.

Saul then cut the spines of the banana leaves and some of the trunk so that the matooke wouldn’t touch the bottom of the pan. He added water, and voila! A matooke steam bath was born.

Now the matooke (in the pan we borrowed from the guest house because I don’t have a pan large enough) went in the stove to steam away. It eventually received another bowl as topper to trap the steam.

Brian continued to work on the fish and sauce, kicking me out of my own kitchen when I tried to help. Twice.

When the matooke had steamed enough (they kept pressing the leaves to see how soft it was), they removed it from the sauce pan, then took other leaves and mashed (though I think the proper term is “pressed”) it, working quickly because it was hot. Then it got re-wrapped for more steaming.

When it was finished, Saul then used a plate to scoop and serve, and we all enjoyed tremendously.

And out of that huge bunch of matooke (which fed 18 people) only this remained, which I gave to Saul.

Thanks be to God!

In a pickle

As I was tackling the mountain for marking, I came across this gem from one of my MDiv students in an assignment about the Day of Atonement:

It gave me a good chuckle, as did the “unusual liturgical actions.” I am quite strict about plagiarism, and I thought this was his way of paraphrasing something he read. I was all kinds of proud of him for incorporating what I taught him.

Until I read the same sentence three papers later. Sadly, it’s a quote from a commentary.

So the plagiarism/attribution rants shall continue.

End of semester marking

We have reached the end of the semester, thanks be to God. However, this also means that I have some marking to do.

So, I have about two inches of papers to mark, plus the 17 assignments that were submitted via email.

I also have a lot of coffee. Thanks be to God.

Digressions and names

Digressions and names

I love the digressions our class discussions can take. While discussing the Holiness Code in Leviticus 17-27 with my Masters of Divinity students, we were discussing what was meant in Leviticus 18:8, and how it differs from Leviticus 18:7.  This led to a small discussion on various marriage customs in Uganda, particularly with regard to giving another girl in the marriage to help at home.

How “help” is defined in this situation is still a bit fuzzy to me, as the discussion devolved a wee bit as students from different tribes took exception to how others were defining it. One student raised his voice, and began, “Now, Reverend, I am a Muganda, and we – ” to which I replied, “I am also a Muganda, though adopted.”

Apparently this was enough to derail the discussion, because someone asked what my Luganda name is. I have two: I was given Nakalema years ago, and last semester, a student gave me Nasuuna. So I explained this. The class was quiet as they digested this, and I leaned over to a Rwandan student who was sitting in the front row and whispered, “This means that I’m a princess.” He looked at me with some skepticism.

However, this was confirmed when one of the Baganda said, “Those are royal names.” Indeed they are; names must be appropriate for the clan to which you belong. And since I belong to one of the royal clans (Lion), I can have a royal name. Amen.

I explained that I’ve been given names from several areas in East Africa, which I wear as badges of honor. From the Luo in Kenya, I am Achieng (born at midday). One of the Kenyan students in class was delighted to hear this, and said he will call me this from now on. The Bunyoro give pet names, and one of our professors named me Abwooli (clean, or cat), and one of the Munyoro students has already adopted it. From the Muyankole, I am Mbabazi (Grace).

And all this from a discussion of the Holiness Code.