Saturday, 3 February 2018

The Liturgy of Tea

When you mention "Tea Time" in Uganda, it is met with anticipation of a space in the day to be together with others and regroup with a cup of warm, milky, sweet tea.  For USP students, it is a new ritual in their day that is, at first, a little confusing...but soon accepted and even looked forward to. 

Tea Time is mid-morning and/or early evening. This ritual was brought by the British with the intention of snacking before dinner, especially as preparing dinner takes time and may not be ready until late in the evening. In Uganda, however, this ritual was incorporated with the locals’ value of being together. It wasn’t only about hunger but Tea Time has always been a communal time in Uganda for families, friends, and colleagues to come together and share the day’s plans and experiences. Furthermore, it’s a way of showing hospitality to the visitors of the family, something that strengthened community relationships. In Uganda, eating together depicts harmony and is a way of strengthening the ties. One fills their family in on how and what they are doing since seeing each other last.
The USP students have experienced this in their host homes. Tea Time presents a great platform for them to share what they plan to do for the day and then evaluate their success in the evening. The conversations allow the family to know how everyone is fairing and what to do, to make the following day better.

Here at the USP office, we also share teatime and get to know more about each other and enjoy the smiles and moments of the day. 

Tea Time is even a part of the UCU class schedule! There is a break in classes every day at 10:30 for students to pause and "take tea" with one another. 
USP students during teatime in the DH

The American mentality usually questions, "How can I be a productive member of society and still make time for tea?" The Ugandan culture asks, "How can I be a productive member of society  without making time for tea?" We have much to learn from our Ugandan hosts.

Our daily reminder in the office

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