As they always say, “the good old days”, yes, those were the good old days. Well, stop wondering. I am talking of the days when many of us were just kids, before our chests broadened or beards thought of growing.
We started preparing for Christmas a.k.a Noel as early as October. True, with limited resources, parents had to begin buying clothes for the family; each family member had to wear “new” clothes. I say new in quotes because, some of the clothes were bought from the open market where secondhand. These were new to the would-be owners even if they had been worn by others before! The guys in the village markets made the biggest kill because they roamed from village (open market) to village. Of course the tailors were not left out; they “drove” their sewing machines day in day out!
Talk of the sewing machines and it reminds me of a guy from somewhere near the shores of Lake Bunyonyi in Kabale District, south-western Uganda. The fellow went to Kabale to buy a bicycle and he was loaded with lots of cash. Used to the bicycle, which people rode from place to place, he saw a new kind of machine that was being “driven” like his bicycle. He looked at the machine and it looked more or less like a bicycle. He ended up buying the sewing machine instead of a bicycle. He began “driving” (read ridding) the sewing machine with the hope that, it would get him back to Rubaya (his home area) but wapi! And hence the saying that, “you are like the people of Rubaya who ride sewing machines” (no offence intended).
“Below 18 not allowed” was the catch word for all bars. On Noel, this rule was bent and the children would be allowed into the bars as long as they came with their parents. We would enjoy drinks like Kwete (maize brew), “ikigaji”, “urwagwa”, etc. Adults would consume crude waragi or bottled beers. Ironically, foodstuffs like meat and rice were always reserved on Noel and Paska (Easter). It was unheard of to eat rice on other days!