X-Files from the village
X-FILES FROM THE VILLAGE BY DENIS WABUYI
It could be true or not true that the whiteman learned how to make a train after coming to Africa and seeing a millipede, likongolyo. But a few years after he reached Uganda he went back, made a train and came back and laid a railway that could connect Uganda to the coast. Before the train, our people had only seen a bicycle which was called a metallic horse in some places where they had horses.
Legend has it that the first person to own a bicycle in our area was a man called Wabukye from Bukhamunyu. He is said to have earned the bicycle from his close association with the Buganda collaborators and the white missionaries, especially Pillington who was based in Busoba.
When Wabukye got the bicycle, he changed completely and always spent his time moving around, showing off his newly acquired pride. Another person who is said to have had a bicycle was Kuuya from Butiru.
These men were very cunning and It is said that after changing his name to Desterio and getting the bicycle, Wabukye could move around charging people to have a ride on his bicycle. He told them the metallic horse doesn’t eat grass but chicken, eggs, meat and takes milk. Whenever he went out with his bicycle, Wabukye would return with gifts from the people. As a result of his newly earned pride, Wabukye would go ahead to marry 3 wives and this could be a contention that would lead to him quiting church.
He had innocently gone to the priest asking to be wed with his brides so that God can sanctify their marriage. The priest instead chastised him for being ungodly and asked him to send away the second and third wives. Daudi could not assent to this after all his second wife was even a sister to the first wife.
Didn’t they after all tell him that Yakobo of the Bible married Leah and her sister Lakeli? And God blessed him with 2 more concubines? The priest’s desperate explanations of God changing rules in the new testament could not convince Wabukye to drop his other wives. All the great men in the Bible had more than wife except for Jesus who did not even say anything about polygamy.. “If you’re saying that God changed rules, why do you teach our people to follow commandments?”
No one tells this story better than the old man Yolamu who says was a kid at a time this happened. It could later cost Wabukye the bicycle when the church administrators from Nabumali withdrew and gave it to Nashimolo.
Wabukye had a rare skill of translating for the white people that even when the administrators later came and established offices, he was called to work with them. He would later become the first man to ride in a vehicle, something that would give one a king-like status in the village and win him a lot of respect.
But even as we recall the changes that came with foreign influence, we also appreciate the knowledge and great wisdom that existed before. For example, there was only one treatment for mumps (Mutobolya). Diseases like malenge (joint pain) was always treated with ipawu (local alcohol drank from a gourd when mixed with very hot water). People from Makhonje, Lumbuku, Mabanga and other parts of Buwalasi and Bufukhula would come to the magic tree, Muwurukuru for healing. This tree used to stand where the current hospital is. The people who constructed the hospital are said to have been attracted by the healing power of the tree. But like any competitors would be, they later cut down the magic tree because more people were going to the tree for healing than the hospital.
At the peak of an outbreak of mumps, there was a man called Masafu who also worked as the security guard at the hospital. The lead doctor, Wolukawu had banned the people from coming to the muwurukuru tree for healing.
Therefore Masafu instructed the people to only come on Sundays when the doctor would be away for the weekend.
Whereas you could not find people at the dispensary during the week days, you would find queues on Sunday of people seeking the healing power of the Muwurukuru tree.
Masafu collected money and chicken from the people who sought healing from the tree. But they were under instruction to only come on Sunday.
One Sunday when Dr Wolukawu was called for an emergency case, he was surprised to find many people gathered at the hospital ground only to realise they had come to the muwurukuru. He had the tree cut down the next day. But do you think he lasted at his job? neither did Masafu whose income was curtailed enormously.
Till then, we shall keep you posted