I remember as a prospective college student visiting Auburn University learning about "Hey Day". Basically, everyone took a day to walk around and say "Hey!" to everyone else on campus.
We have experienced the Ugandan equivalent to that this week.
Yesterday, ready to meet new friends, we took markers and paper to our katoobe. Though I am probably spelling it wrong, a katoobe is a gazebo type structure that is used as a place in which to greet visitors. As our katoobe has no poles or traditional banana leaf roof, the only greeting that goes on there is saying hello to our neighbor's goats that think that it is their katoobe.
Once we shooed the goats out, we set out paper and markers, ready for our first friends. However, it was only 4pm, so Ugandan primary school was not dismissed yet. The goata returned this time being chased by an older man. He seemed to say that he was trying to grab the rope attached to the male goat, so the kids and I did the neighborly thing and chased the goats with him. So, while Lilli and Patton followed the curious Botu (our 10 week old puppy), I swung a broom towards the wayward billy with one hand while holding Aidan in the other. Eventually, our tactics worked and our neighbor went back to the compound of his family homes. And we followed...
After exchanging the four Lebwisi greeting words I knew, I shared our names. Then our neighbor and the three women with him proceeded to tell me wonderful things of which I have no clue, but I did the proper Ugandan thing and agreed with them in the three customary ways: raised my eyebrows, lifted my chin repeatedly, and made the "hmmm" sound simultaneously.
Eventually, the neighbor children did come home from school and our kids greeted them in the goat-free katoobe. Patton immediately connected with a young boy named Charity who played soccer with a volleyball while Lilli was surrounded by lots of little girls who liked to draw together.
"Hey Day" continued as I took an afternoon walk down a lane by a primary school. After chatting with children walking home on the same path, I turned to head back home. Once I had started my walk back, the oldest of the girls yelled down, "Madame, I will be your friend!"
And then today, we enjoyed the chapel talk centering on servant leadership given by our teammate Scott at Christ School Bundibugyo. As we met each of the teachers, they graciously said, "You are most welcome here."
So, here we are...exchanging the beautiful sing-song greetings as we walk around the town, meeting neighbor children, chasing goats, and being welcomed by new friends.