Mama Robinah and Shanae (featured on the left)
As a Program Assistant one of my roles is to visit the IMME students (students living in semester-long homestays) at home, and this week I decided to visit Shanae. Shanae lives with Mrs. Robinah Lubanga Kiwanuka, who has been hosting students since 2004. Not only does she host USP students, Shanae informed me that Mama Robinah also hosts many other youth in her home through the year. I was intrigued to visit and learn more about this fascinating woman.
The walk to Mama Robinah’s house took around 25 minutes; Shanae and I had to power walk to get there before 5:30 pm. We arrived hot and sweaty and not at all ready to drink the hot tea we imagined was coming. (Luckily Mama Robinah felt the same way!) Mama Robinah rose from her chair to greet me with a hug and asked me to sit. As Shanae, Mama Robinah and I sat at the table, the three of us started to fan ourselves. “I thought I was the only one who was hot,” Mama Robinah said as she was using her hand to cool herself down. Turns out it wasn’t just power walking to the house that made Shanae and I sweaty, it was also a hot day and Mama Robinah felt it too.
It was wonderful having tea at Mama Robinah’s house and to see how much Mama Robinah enjoys being with students. Since Shanae informed her host mother that I was coming over to visit, Mama Robinah made sure that tea was special that day, we had fresh orange/passion fruit juice was serviced along with samosas, fried pork and vegetables. (I know, right?!) The three of us sat at the table talking and laughing. Seeing Mama Robinah’s interaction with Shanae was a joy for me. Mama Robinah is extremely comfortable with America students and Shanae seemed relaxed and totally free to be herself. They both told me stories of how they worked in Mama Robinah’s garden together and Shanae’s experience of trying different Ugandan fruits. I left Mama Robinah’s house feeling as though I wanted to live at her house. Maybe it was the good food or the laughs that were shared, or the fact that Mama Robinah made me feel very welcomed and comfortable. Thanks Mama Robina and Shanae! Same time, same place next week? :)
Post by Tiffany Gathers