Saturday, November 5, 2011

The best history lesson...

When we decided to adopt from Uganda, we recognized that we're joining our family for life to this beautiful country. We want our little mister to know the beauty of his birth culture and. history, and we pray he will be a blessing to both his adoptive culture and his homeland.

Throughout the process, I've read as much as I could about Uganda, and the history of this area of Africa. It's been hard to keep everything straight in my mind, since much of what I've read has been completely unfamiliar. Thursday we did some sightseeing that really helped to bring everything to life. We visited several places of great significance to the primary people group here in Kampala, the Buganda. We spent the morning at the Buganda Parlaiment, and in the afternoon visited one of the palaces of the Kabaka (Bugandan King).

We learned SO MUCH about our little mister's people and heritage, it was really amazing.

This is our little mister's totem, the sign of his clan (the monkey... which means he can't marry anyone from the monkey clan or ever eat monkey :D). This is very meaningful to the Buganda, and it's the reason for one part of our little guy's name (which we can't reveal here until we receive guardianship.)

Our favorite driver (John!) came with us on the tour, which was actually one of my favorite aspects. It was so fun to see him interact with our tour guide and to see both of their evident pride in their people, history, and king.

At parlaiment, we heard the history of the Buganda kings, and learned the traditional greetings for the king - the Kabaka is greeted differently by men and women. A man greets the king in a way that symbolizes the use of his stregnth in loyalty to the Kabaka, while a woman's greeting symbolizes peace.

This is the crest of the Buganda, crossed spears behind a traditional sheild, with a lion.

Luke thought Parliament was SUPER BORING (while Matt & I were fascinated), but he liked the king's palace. It was the place of a military revolt in 1966, so there were lots of war stories (the military stormed the place, but the Buganda king escaped to exile in England…where he was poisoned by a spy 3 years later. One of his sons is now the reigning Kabaka.)

They also took us down to a bunker under the palace where Idi Amin stored weapons for several months…until he turned it into a prison and torture chamber. It was horrifying to stand in a place where so much death and horror happened. I wondered how Luke would take those stories, he thought it was super creepy, but also very cool that we got to see the place.

We bought a beautiful piece of artwork (painted by some of the tour guides) on Batik, of the Kasubi Tombs, which we're hoping to visit in the next few days (it's the traditional burial place of Buganda kings, and the spiritual center of the Buganda kingdom.) Matt picked it out and it's kind of GIANT so I'm not entirely sure where we're going to put it…

It was such and interesting and helpful day of sightseeing, not to mention delightful to spend so much of the day with our little guy! Hopefully we will remember everything to pass on to him! And we hope to be able to bring him home to visit as he grows up, so he can know his heritage in person rather than just reading about it or hearing it from us!