Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Contagious joy

Continuing with our trip to Mfangano Island, in Lake Victoria, to attend the Suba people’s cultural celebration  

Our little plane touched down on a beach-side landing strip lined with a handful of curious, giggling Suba children. We didn’t need our overnight bags until day’s end so we left them in the plane and hiked a couple of miles into the hills where the cultural celebration would occur.

Young Suba performers painted white designs on their bodies and wore traditional costumes made of dried grasses, bark, and animal skins.

They danced, they beat their drums, they sang their songs, and acted out folk tales.

Throughout each event, the Subas laughed—the performers, their parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Their contagious joy made us laugh along with them.


The fun-loving Subas welcomed us strangers to their island, their celebration, and their homes.

Our co-worker Sally showed the ladies her
video of their dancing.

I had brought toothbrushes as gifts and handed them out to shy children gathered in the shade of a wide mango tree.

We couldn’t speak each other’s languages, but we communicated with smiles and handshakes. 

The celebrations lasted all day—longer than we expected—and at six o’clock the sun set, like it always does on the equator, with only a brief lingering dusk.

Festivities continued, though, and minute by minute, the darkness deepened. I worried that a boat trip after dark might not be safe.… (from Grandma’s Letters from Africa, Chapter 7) 

Did we have to change our plans and spend the night with resident rats? C’mon back to find out.


  1. Glad you liked them, Rebecca. :) Thanks for stopping by.


  2. Lovely memory, lovely photos, but please oh please no rats!

    1. Oh, Jamie Jo, you have probably survived much more than that! :)

      Thanks for stopping by. A couple of your blog posts lately have left me laughing out loud! I sure enjoy your writing, your stories, and your heart.


  3. Ooo, I love that - "contagious joy." Aren't you just drawn to folks who show it and let it spill all over??

    Why do I think you're one of them??

    Waving and smiling...

    1. Ah, Sweet Rhonda, you always make me smile. You're a dear. I'm excited for all that's happening in your professional life and your family's adventures.