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Playing Football in Uganda

A Ugandan Wedding and a Football Match

Written by Ben Presley, 2014 East Africa: Discovery.

Our vehicles were running on African time today so there was no way we were going to be on time for the wedding. We didn’t mind passing the time waiting for a way to reach the wedding though. We used it to get all dolled up in our traditional Ugandan wedding dress and to take as many pictures as possible. The girls needed some help from Mama to get into their dresses but us boys had no trouble fitting into ours and strutting our stuff right away.

Ready for a Ugandan Wedding

Photo by RWEYOWA.

The Team in Wedding Attire

Photo by Linda Ozromano.

We all got to the wedding in separate cars after getting lost a few times along the way. I learned shortly upon arriving that I was to be the best man and we were all an important part of the groom’s side for the ceremony. It wasn’t so much a wedding, more like a formal engagement in which the bride’s side puts on a celebratory show. There were dancers, percussionists, a Ugandan soldier, Buganda warriors, and two hired men to bicker and transition the celebration from one event to another. We were also involved in the ceremony, we ended up carrying all the gifts that the bride’s side had prepared for the evening. The girls brought baskets by balancing them on their heads and the boys carried an entire cow! It was so cool and interesting being thrown in the middle of something so different and new for us.

Ugandan Wedding

Photo by Adam Darell.

After a much needed sleep, we had some chapati (Mama makes the best chapati) and got dressed up again but this time for church. We were welcomed with open arms by the congregation and got a front row seat for a service I won’t forget. It was a really energetic service led by a preacher who had just returned from Israel after suffering from an acid assault. He preached about fellowship and love for which was nice an all, but the football team we were to face in a few hours did not show either during the game we were about to play.

The Football team

Photo by RWEYOWA.

We changed into our borrowed football uniforms and made our way through the city to find the pitch as a team. It had poured hard just beforehand so our field had some interesting aspects to it. The field had huge puddles and patches of thick mud, which made running much more of a challenge. Our biggest obstacles on the field were the cows though, and what they left behind on the pitch…

Football Game

Photo by Linda Ozromano.

We had a hard fought game and we all came out bruised and dirty by the end of it. If we saw one of our teammates were too clean by the end of the game, we made it a priority to help fix the issue. We took all sorts of pictures with our rivals who quickly turned into friends as we exchanged contact info.

Playing in the Mud

Photo by Linda Ozromano.

Post-Game Mud

Photo by Linda Ozromano.

The last thing we did at Mama’s was take a much needed shower before heading back to the New City Annex Hotel in Kampala for the night!

The Whole Football Team

Photo by Linda Ozromano.

what are you waiting for?