Saturday, April 18, 2015

School Dances

Jennifer had the only decent pair of stiletto heels at my all-girls boarding secondary school and all of us with the same shoe size lined up to borrow them for the school dance. The pair was a shiny burgundy matching the maroon skirt of the school uniform, which we were compelled to wear when we went to closely supervised dances with the boys at Ntare School.
The whole event, hosted by the Scottish Country Dancing Club was quite a farce. Bweranyangi Girls, was a missionary school located deep in the heartland of western Uganda. Scottish missionaries who had taught there left with the advent of Idi Amin but they left behind their culture and so in my final year at the school, I had the dubious honor of chairing the Scottish Country Dancing Club. We practiced our eight-some reels and skipped arms akimbo with so much pride without once questioning the relevance of this exercise to our education and future. The greatest and perhaps only benefit of membership was an annual dance with the boys at Ntare School. On the day of the dance we boarded the back of a TATA lorry and took off with hearts pounding at the prospect of dancing with boys. In hindsight the thought of girls disembarking from the back of a lorry - and trying their best to do so with grace and dignity in front of our heart throbs; is hilarious. But what did we know? We were so unsophisticated that it took me years to realize that the perfume called 'Moonlight' that we passed around the day of the dance was an air freshener! After the Country Dancing was done we engaged in some ballroom dancing - waltzing with boys was a thrill after weeks of practicing with our girl friends. Anyway, I was thankful for my turn to wear Jennifer's stiletto heels to the dance because they helped me carry off this farce with some elegance.

At 50 I know that the hours I spent practicing a foreign and seemingly inconsequential dance were not entirely wasted. It was during those memorable days that I started developing social skills and life long friendships.

— feeling amused.

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