“Who is your friend getting married to?” Mitima asked Nabulya.”I don’t know the man. I have never met him” she replied. They were about to cross Westminster Bridge. Nabulya pressed her foot down on the pedal to slow down the car. Mitima looked at her friend’s black high heeled shoes and wondered how she managed to drive while dangling from such height. Her long arms and slim hands gently turning the driving wheel, revealing red and black decorated nails. She looked down below at the boats on the River Thames, they looked like garden insects crawling along the water. She remained silent, wondering why she had agreed to go with Nabulya to this wedding preparation meeting. She hardly knew any Ugandans in South London and this was not her friend. It had been about ten years since she went for any sort of Ugandan social gathering south of the river.
“This is better than staying at home on Saturday evening” said Nabulya glancing at her friend to check she was alright.”It is the last fundraising dinner and we will not stay long” she continued.”I suppose so” Mitima replied still absent minded. She was worried about the money she was going to spend on a plate of Ugandan food in support of a wedding that had nothing to do with her.
Nabulya had been her support since her husband died four years ago. She helped her to get back on her feet and was now studying childcare at the City and Islington College. So when she asked her to go to her friend’s wedding fundraising dinner, she couldn’t refuse although she could not afford it.
Sensing that Mitima was not at ease, Nabulya explained in a calm but serious tone; Kwaga was a school friend from Gayaza High School in the 1980s. They had shared a cubicle in Cox House and used to sing together in the school choir. She had met Kwaga at a Gayaza Alumni event in Waterloo in 2011 for the first time since then. It was important that she contributed to her wedding to do her part. After all, in London you support people just because they are Ugandans, next time you might need their support.
Mitima listened to Nabulya intently; her pulse was racing as every word hit her heart directly. Although she admired Nabulya’s straight talking most of the time, this was a conversation she would rather not have heard. Nabulya’s words echoed in her ears like thunder. They were undertones of a reminder; that she barely knew her at the time of her husband’s death. She was just a Ugandan!
©Juliet Lubega (unpublished 2013)