Mathew: Last night, my father died.
Meg: I am so sorry! How many days off do you need?
Mathew: I need today to prepare and tomorrow is the funeral and burial.
Meg: That is so sad, was it your father of birth?
Meg: Who was it?
Mathew: It was... say my step-father.
Meg: Oh, your mother's husband.
Mathew: No. It was... my father-in-law.
Meg: Oh, the father of your wife.
Mathew: No. It was my father's brother.
At this point I stopped the guessing game because "brother" could mean sibling or friend or cousin, and if I asked if it was his uncle, the answer would be yes! because uncle is any male older you than you, that you respect. Most likely it was a close friend of Mathew's father.
|Mathew dressed as the equivalent |
of a boy scout leader
In Uganda, the family is very important. Relationships here are more valued than anything else. So this "uncle" who passed away was probably a close friend of the family and yet Mathew cared enough to call him "father." I struggle daily with communicating, but I am learning so much from our friends here about the value of others in my life.