The "backspace" key on my computer is broken. It keeps jumping out and wiggling. When I fix it in place sometimes it stays put for weeks but then it rebels against my abuse. I have failed to get into the habit of using the "delete" key which is just next to it.
Tracing my tribe: I am a Mukiga who identifies as a Muganda
Now that I am older and understand the difference between good and evil, I wish to know my tribe, the Bakiga and understand so much there.
I wanted to use my keyboard as a metaphor but that will only fuel my laziness to fix it because then I will be fond of it like some piece of art. *rolling my eyes*
But my laziness to fix things is not why I have this longing to reunite with my father's tribe that I have no idea where to begin untangling.
No, I can easily trace my dilemma to a familial transformation of some sort.
“The world is so empty if one thinks only of mountains, rivers and cities; but to know someone who thinks and feels with us, and who, though distant, is close to us in spirit, this makes the earth for us an inhabited garden.” - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.
In those words is a summary of what I wish to talk about so I won't bore you with details.
Christianity came into my family just before I was born and that became our new tribe. There was obvious friction between traditional rituals and Christianity, but only to a hypocritical extent now that I look back on it. My formative years were dictated by a mixture of both in favour of the Baganda traditional values but Christianity took the biggest piece of the pie.
I was born in the heart of Kampala and I have lived here my entire life. I have a handful of memories of my father's village from the two times I have been there, both in childhood. Due to a series of unfortunate events, there was no continuation of that familial tribal bond.
Years later I kicked myself out of the "Garden of Christianity" and have been wandering since. The World is a beautiful painting but for some reason, a longing has sprung out to connect with my father's tribe.
Maybe it is because when I'm asked my tribe I hesitate to answer because it doesn't feel true. Maybe when Bakiga Nation happens I feel like a fluke. Maybe it is one of those feelings that come and go as you age.
“I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.” - Brené Brown
But I am an isolated particle of the body of urban and even rural dwellers who have lost touch with these roots. A body floating in religious and social movements amniotic fluid waiting to be reborn in a new tribe, perhaps. Maybe the rebirth happens in phases of individuality, and mine is on the horizon.
“Invisible threads are the strongest ties.” - Frederich Nietzche
Last I heard the immediate group I could have contacted sold the place and moved. I am late to the Exodus. Maybe, because these ties exist in my head so they feel strong when the reality of knowing "my people" would have been a different story.
For now, I will dance to the drums of finding my tribe with those who have the qualities, characteristics, and values that I share and admire. Those who feel safe, with whom I feel belonging, dignity and aliveness.
"You do not have to be good. You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert repenting. You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves. Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine. Meanwhile, the world goes on. Meanwhile, the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain are moving across the landscapes, over the prairies and deep trees, the mountains and the rivers. Meanwhile, the wild geese, high in the clean blue air, are heading home again. Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination, calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting – over and over announcing your place in the family of things." - Wild Geese by Mary Oliver.
I wonder what it means among the Bakiga, to put a coin in a small "kalo" basket and place it under a tree on the day you bury your father.
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