Recently, I attended a relative’s graduation party, which was graced by close to 500 people. For the first time in my life I saw Ugandans turn away, turn up their noses, or shake their heads, (regretfully if I may add) when a platter of roast meat was brought towards them.
There was so much meat, the guests ate until they could eat no more. You’re probably wishing you had been there, right?
Anyway, the unwritten rule in our society is that guests get to dissect your function later that evening, or for the rest of their lives if they want to.
As you know, human beings can be brutal and unforgiving, especially if the assessment they arrive at falls below their lofty expectations. They will tear you to pieces, bad mouth you, and then crucify you.
This reminds me of a friend’s wedding, which took place about six years ago, yet once in a while, someone who was there brings up the embarrassing issue of the stale food guests were served that sunny day in August.
The food had been lavish, the kind that you could describe as “a feast fit for a king” — there was every dish you can think of, and everything looked mouth-watering on the plate, but one spoonful and you knew something was terribly wrong.
For some reason, all the stew had gone bad, so the hungry guests had to make do with chapati and rice, the perfect recipe for a severe case of constipation.
As you can imagine, there was a lot of grumbling as the function went on, grumbling that went a notch higher among those who did not get a piece of cake.
This regretful outcome still traumatises this friend. When people talk about her wedding, which cost her and her husband a few thousands short of a million bob. They refer to it as “that wedding that had stale food” — it is something she is yet to get over.
But I was telling you about the graduation that had more meat than anyone knew what to do with.
Well, as guests started to leave once the bash ended, I overheard a group of women huddled over calabashes of porridge analysing the function. One of them pointed out, “Heh, enyama nyigi naye tewali chapati.”
She was disappointed that even though meat had been in plenty, the hosts had not served chapati.
The other women nodded vigorously, pointing out that they too had noticed this glaring omission. One added that surely, if the hosts could afford to buy five goats, they could afford to make chapatis, couldn’t they?
And just like that, a function that had surpassed everyone’s expectations was in danger of being reduced to one that would be forever described as, “that graduation where there was no chapati.”
This taught me an important lesson; it is impossible to satisfy everyone, that no matter what you do, or how generous you are, there will always be someone who will feel that the soup was too watery, the tea too economical with milk, or the food too salty.