So this week I had an African dress made for Christmas by Atwooki, a woman who makes school uniforms for Moreau Primary School. Although I had never seen any of the dresses she had made one of the Sisters told me that she could do a good job in a short time, and with one week till Christmas I decided she would be my best chance of getting the dress made in time. I had bought beautiful blue fabric with silver sequins all over it in Fort Portal over the weekend and had an idea in mind of what I wanted, but wasn’t quite sure what to call it or how exactly to explain it to her with her limited English and my limited Rutorro. We met at the clinic and after she took my measurements I handed the fabric over to her with plans to pick it up in a few days.
The next day she called and told me I needed to get lining for underneath the dress which was news to me, but okay. So with the help of one of the clinic workers, Janiffer, she was able to walk around Kyarusozi town with me searching for fabric. Unfortunately we did not find any, but she knew someone going to town the next day who could pick some blue fabric up. Keep in mind this woman had no idea what shade of blue I wanted, and when she came back with a baby blue material I was a bit skeptical of what it would look like, but Christmas was nearing and I figured this would be my best bet. So the next day Atwooki’s daughter came to pick up the lining for sewing. On Friday Atwooki had finished the dress, and it looked beautiful, only problem I had no idea how to put it on. Our work Christmas party was about to begin and I had worn a red skirt and red headband in preparation for the party. However, when Atwooki started dressing me two of the clinic workers, Ciari and Enid, saw and came into help dress me/wrap me up. Atwooki had even made a sparkling headband to match the dress. Once the dress came on I realized I had to pee and keep in mind the dress is like a wedding dress, where it is not easy to manage so off it came. When I was finished Ciari insisted I wear the suka to the party so she helped me put it back on again and off we went to the party room. Cleaphus one of the lab workers grabbed my arm and we started stepping to the music. Cleaphus is a goofy girl so I thought she was just being herself, however, soon as I turned the corner I saw all the workers sitting along the walls and clapping as we entered. I was not prepared for that or for the fact that they sat me right center in the middle of the room like I was some special guest! The party began with introductions, a magic trick, and a few speeches. Then we played a game similar to hot potato where we passed around a bag that contained a saying in it that the person with the bag when the music stopped had to complete. For example, one worker had to jump for Jesus, Anne had to do a dance, and another had to sing a song. The final paper said that the nursing assistant, Goretti, had to name who in the room she thought was Ms. Christmas, and she picked me…it must have been the dress. After the game we ate and danced. Now I love the dress Atwooki made, but the only problem is that it is not easy to manage; I really have to act “like a lady!” I am used to walking fast, but now I have to take small steps, and the backside drapes over like a shawl so I have to keep my arms tucked in at all times to keep it from falling off (Ciari was my ‘husband’ during the day as she was the one sitting next to me and was constantly fixing my dress and making sure it looked okay.) Today was a festive day and it was nice to see all the workers eager to decorate their respective rooms in the clinic and to see them dressed up so fancy for the party.
Oh by the way, I have worn the dress a few times since the party, and I still cannot figure out how to put it on. I think I am going to need an African to come back with me to America.