Bitter_Sweet Upbringing

Recently I was hosting my friend’s birthday. She loves pressed matooke so I had to go the Kiganda way;-banana leaves and all. This was the norm at home when I was growing up.

The lady from whom I bought the banana leaves had so many piled up. She asked me to pick for what I wanted. I did not need many. I made my selection, folded them and put them aside. Little did I know I was being watched the entire time. The lady was looking at me amazed.

“Truly you’re a Muganda! You were raised well. There are grown women who come here and they do not even know how to handle the banana leaves,”she remarked in Luganda.

I laughed and pointed out that I was actually a Mukiga. “However, I was raised by a Muganda lady. I lost my parents when I was young”.

Still watching me, “That lady raised you well. You should thank her. I know what I am talking about,” she said knowingly.

This vendor went on to tell me of a lady that raised kids that were not her own but never taught them anything. “The children could not cook, wash or clean. And she would just leave them and do everything herself. Now that they are on their own, they are suffering, with no one to do stuff for them”.

As she said this, my heart was moved. My thoughts went back to my upbringing. At some point, I had hated the fact that we had to do chores daily. I wished I had been born rich with maids that did everything for me.

Seven years ago, my second foster mom, (the lady that raised us 2012-2017), asked my sister and I to weed and dig around the flowers and plants in our compound. We had a very huge compound with flowers everywhere. By the time we were through, my sister and I swore never to have flowers and plants in our compounds when we had our own homes.

Now that I am older, I am very grateful that my first foster mom, (2002-2012), introduced us early to chores and raised us to be disciplined. Like any other child, I started with the simple things like washing utensils, picking rubbish, sweeping. As I got older, I was introduced to the harder tasks. Lucky for me, it was a big family and everyone at home worked.

When I reached upper primary, mom nolonger cooked unless we had special guests. Each of us was given a day to cook. Thinking they were being smart, my older siblings assigned me cooking on Sundays. “Mom will assist you,” they coaxed. I was never one to argue so I did not protest.

No one wanted to cook on Sunday for obvious reasons. The menu was huge. For lunch alone; I had to cover matooke in banana leaves, with sweet potatoes and pumpkin on top. I also had to prepare meat or chicken, rice, ground nuts stew, greens, fry Irish potatoes, make juice-often from oranges and passion fruits…and then cut fruits- usually a pineapple or watermelon. On top of that, attending church service was compulsory, and I did not have to be late.

For several years, I cooked on Sundays. With time, there is no chore I did not learn to do.

As we celebrate Mother’s Day, my heart goes out to the ladies that raised me. I appreciate them for teaching me how to work hard. When I get my own children, I will involve them in doing chores.

It is a good feeling when you pay someone to do something for you, not because you cannot or do not know how to do it for yourself-but because you do not want to.

The End!


  1. Ayebare Patience Joy

    May 8, 2022 at 2:38 pm

    I love this….
    If our mothers made themselves absent or did everything for us,we’d be doomed.
    I’ve learnt that children who did lots of chores are also so good in the work space. They’re super creative and deliver on time because our mothers never had time for excuses.I mean, how’d you even start saying that I didn’t cook because I failed to light the charcoal stove? You’d have to figure it out.

    1. Echoes Over Coffee

      May 8, 2022 at 3:18 pm

      Absolutely! They call you once, third time is a slap. Traditional moms, hmm, Olemwa!

  2. Juan Emmanuela

    May 9, 2022 at 11:38 am

    This is very true and lovely indeed. I love the conclusion 🌺

  3. Echoes Over Coffee

    May 9, 2022 at 1:46 pm

    Thank you Juan, I appreciate the feedback.

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