Bills linebacker Kawika Mitchell is teaming up with New York Giants defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka in a charity effort to help villages in Kiwanuka's native Uganda, while also taking in some of the unique experiences that the African nation has to offer. In this installment of Mitchell's blog from Uganda, the Bills linebacker shares his induction into an Ugandan tribe and gives an update on the running water project for a local school.
Well Bills fans this trip to Uganda could not be all play and no work, so Mathias and I got a good workout in Thursday morning.
I got my work done in the pool, where I did sprints and different stretches. Remember I'm still rehabbing from my torn quadricep. Things are good though. I'm pleased with my progress. We followed up the pool work with a good circuit in the gym at the hotel. Normal intense work.
As I mentioned in my last entry we were scheduled to attend a tribal dance performance. There was no real dress code for the event although the majority of people here, especially the elders, are usually dressed nice. Most wear button up shirts, slacks and a sport coat, even as hot as it is here.
One of the best parts of the event was when they presented us with a Lubugo, which is a piece of clothing that's been made by hand since the old days. One of the performances was a description of how they make the clothing and after the dance/story Mathias' grandfather presented us with the Lubugos.
The process was also a ceremony welcoming us into the Buganda family/tribe. The Buganda Tribe is the people of East Uganda and is the single largest tribe of Uganda. It was explained to me as "everyone, everything around me." It was an unexpected event but a very special one.
The dances were performed by some of the students of the school. They did three different dances. The first described the making of the lubugo. The second was the story of boys becoming men and the growth they go through before finding a wife and having their own family. Last, was another welcoming dance, which included one that asked for offerings. All of the dances had a sense of humor to them, especially the last dance. You had to see it to know what I mean by that.
After the ceremony we met with the staff of the school as well as the contractor of the running water project and discussed the details of how the water will be pumped and stored. It was a question and answer session for us to become familiar with the process.
Mathias has already donated enough to start the project and the rest of the money will come from other sources, such as, myself, my close friend Brian Schoenbaum, who accompanied us on the trip, and any other outside sources available. The timeline of the process has yet to be determined but the work will be done as soon as possible.
They asked us to say a few words including what our professions are and when I said I played professional football, none of the kids really had any idea what that was. Professionals to them are considered doctors, lawyers and such. It definitely puts things into perspective when people don't even know what it is I do for a living or the simple fact that I get paid to do it.
The trip is winding down, but we've got more visiting and learning about the country for the rest of our stay. I'm lucky to be here with locals and people that have so much knowledge of this land and its history. Catch up with you Bills fans when my trip comes to a close.