I’m pretty used to western Ugandan culture these days. There are still large chunks of it that are an absolute mystery to me, but after living here on and off since 2011 not too much phases me in the day-to-day of life here anymore.
But every now and again I have a moment where I am reminded of how deep the culture divide is between my home culture and Batooro culture.
Today I had one such moment.
I had just dropped into town quickly in the morning, to pick up a few things from the market.
I hailed a boda (motorbike taxi) to take me home, and I sat, balancing a few bags on my lap. While chatting (as I often do) it became apparent that the boda driver was trying to hit on me. It doesn’t happen very often these days, so it took me a while to realise this. I was obviously not interested, so he switched tact and declared that I should marry a Batooro man, proceeding to list all the reasons this would be to my benefit. At that point, I insisted that actually – thanks for the offer – but I was happily married with 3 children. He was not deterred though, contending that I could have a husband in Australia and a Ugandan husband here.
As tempting as this offer was, I replied sincerely “Cebo, I’m tired, I’m old, I’m busy with my children. Honestly, you don’t want me as a wife. Why don’t you try one of those young white women who come here for short trips? Maybe one of those might be better for you?”
He shook his head decisively. “No! You see in Uganda there is a saying: ‘it is always the old fat cows that have the best meat, those are the ones you need to slaughter!’
There was silence.
You are like the cow, he said, to clarify.
I almost fell off the boda.
Then I laughed.
What else is one supposed to do when one is compared to an old fat cow that will soon be eaten?
Needless to say, despite his request when we reached my place, I did not give him my number.