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No Shade

“Was it Rose or Sharon who had the abortion?” asked great grandma (Mukaka-enkuru in short Mukaka).

“Gosh, great grand ma! Must you always speak your mind?” One of her daughters echoed.

Great grandma promptly said she had heard the gossip and she just wanted to know which of her granddaughters visiting today had done it. Everyone knew it was important to check in with Mukaka’ for the latest gossip before she unleashed the latest family talk to a much larger crowd. It wasn’t always bad-in the same breath she was a fierce feminist before her time in the 70’s in a village in the deep south west of Uganda. Mukaka always asked us if we were keeping our school papers/certificates safe. Why? she had heard that men were stealing them from their wives. She thought we should all know and protect ours.

Apart from her gossip the only other vice was tobacco - there she was a Bishop's wife with a secret addiction for the sweet tobacco leaf. Of course, she would never smoke a pipe as attractive as it seemed as she walked through the village, but the large cathedral right at the center always waned this fierce desire…this is where I finally traced all the family addictions that would follow.

“No shade… Rest well baby.”, Mukaka whispered.


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