Wednesday, May 2

Professionals Dinner

On Tuesday the four of us attended a dinner for professionals and marrieds of UCF. It was a fundraising dinner for the Hekima project. And the invitation specified the dress code: African. So we contracted a tailor/designer who attends UCF to fashion some African attire for us.


Mine:


Trey's first outfit:


Trey's second outfit:


Here we are right before leaving for the dinner. I’m no doubt telling Trey to smile and he’s no doubt telling me he doesn’t want to.


And here are the Foxes all dressed up:


The invitation said the dinner started at 5:00 p.m. So naturally we thought it would start at 5:00 p.m. So naturally we showed up at 5:00 p.m. There were only two other people there and they were still setting up. And everybody else started arriving at 6:00 p.m. And the festivities didn’t start until 7:00 p.m. That’s African time for ya.

The event started off with a auction/bid war for a cake. Having attended auctions before we thought we knew what to expect. But here auctions don’t necessarily involving bidding on the item. At least not initially. And bidding requires payment, just to bid, not just if you win. The first person to bid laid down 50,000 shillings for our friend Feriha to have to stand up during the whole event. Then someone bid 10,000 shillings for our friend Martha to have to stand with him. So after a few minutes of funny comments and Feriha pleading for his friends to help him out, Trey paid 50,000 shillings to cancel the original bid to allow Feriha to sit down. And Martha was bid on to sit down too. So at the start 120,000 was collected for Feriha and Martha to stand up for a few minutes and sit back down. Basically, people were shelling out shillings to make people do stuff and you had to match the amount to cancel it out. And the cake wasn’t even mentioned. And at one point an elder at UCF, our friend Patrick, was bid on to dance. So he bid the same amount, not to cancel it out but to have his wife, Maggie, join him. It was sweet. And then our friends Pam & Henry were bid on to join them. And then our friend Ben had to join them too. The bidding games lasted about an hour and a good amount of money was collected.

Then we ate dinner. At 8:00 p.m. For real. Ugandans eat dinner very late. About an hour later the auction started up again, but this time it revolved around the cake. And to bid meant you hand the money in or write a pledge to be collected later. There were two groups bidding on the cake. The marrieds banned together as Bafumbus United (Luganda for married) to win the cake. And some other people banned together to win the cake for Micah, our pastor. So at this point we understand that everyone pays their bid, not just the winning group. And we also assume that the winning group gets to take the cake home. But actually, the winning group just won the right to cut the cake. And then everyone ate it together. Cakes and cake cutting are big deals here. Every major event will involve cake cutting with lots of photos. It’s fun. So pastor’s group finally won and as Micah came up to cut the cake he added 20,000 shillings for the Bafumbus United (since he is also a married) to even the score so that both groups won and everyone shared the honor of cake cutting. Which means each group paid 230,000 shillings ($100 each) just to cut the cake. See, cake cutting is a big deal. The event raised over 500,000 shillings in collected money and over 700,000 shillings in pledged money (to be collected later if people didn’t have the cash on hand). Which totals around $500 for the Hekima project! Not bad for a fundraiser with 40 or so attendees! 

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