There’s something about Sundays. Things move slower but better, the birds sing a new song, the clouds make way for the sun to show off its glory and even the odd Vitz on the road looks less like a potty on wheels. Perhaps it’s down to the fact that God is well rested after Sabbath and in a better mood to take on all the nonsense that His manic creation continues to throw at him.
I woke up this particular Sunday to take in the aforesaid beauty. The neighbor’s insomniac cock had not sounded the alarm at 4am so I already had something to be grateful for. I was not hangover so that too was quickly added to my list of gratitude. But I was hungry. I’m always hungry of late and it can’t be worms because only last month, I was made or rather forced to swallow the biggest tablet I had ever seen in my life, all in the name of putting an end to the host of parasites that the doctor advised had started a little enclave in my gut. So no, it’s not worms. The hunger pangs were growing by the moment, and my mind drifted off to my fridge and cupboard, mentally scoping the sparsely stocked shelves for what I could quickly whip up. I settled for Bushera, also known as millet porridge. It is a delicacy from the South/Western part of Uganda, one of the many beautiful brown things that this part of the country has blessed us with, in addition to milk and honey.
I learnt how to cook last year, and not just porridge. It was a skill born of necessity: I lived by myself, my neighbors never shared their food with me, I had no money to hire a chef and it was a relatively easy thing to learn (thanks YouTube).
The process of making Bushera is an interesting one. It takes on different forms and shapes along the way.
It starts as a very fine pale brown flour. So fine that me and my kinsmen, the Baganda, have to work with a mask over our noses lest we breathe it all in. This flour is placed in a pan and very little water added to make a thick paste which quickly changes color to maroon- brown. I was taught to make sure I beat the mix to dark pulp, viscous enough to mold with. The next step is to add a generous amount of hot water to the paste, turning it into its second form: a murky brown liquid that is then put onto a hot plate to cook. The very first time I tried to make Bushera, I struggled with this stage and wondered at what point this thing before me turned into that rich creamy looking brown porridge. My answer: stir. Stir it up and don’t stop till it starts to turn.
This is perhaps the most annoying stage of the process. You have to keep the heat up and move your hand in a steady, monotonous and rather boring motion. You never know when that moment will come. The moment at which the foggy concoction before you turns to that which you desire. It’s not one of those things you can put down to a timer. There is nothing in the pan that prepares you. No trumpet call, no gradual color change. You just keep stirring. You just keep up the heat. You just keep going. You don’t stop because if you do, it will be lumpy and won’t go down as nicely as it should.
Then suddenly and without warning, you feel it at first, and then you see it. The meal starts to take shape. What was once an ominous looking mix, is now a delicious looking piping hot splendor ready for you to enjoy.
Life is a lot like Bushera (work with me…. this is not as far fetched as it sounds) you get a bunch of ingredients you know will be the key to success. They come with a set of instructions that don’t make sense but because the story has been written and read by many successful people before, you don’t ask questions…you just do it. You are made to follow a routine and keep stirring at something that seems so far detached from what you hoped to get. You keep moving, you stir so much, your entire body hurts but you still keep at it. You can’t stop because if you do, you mess up the recipe; you mess up the meal that is your success.
There is no formula, you never quite know at which point things will take shape. It may take longer than it did for the person next door making the same Bushera…it may happen faster, but you never know. You just keep stirring.
When the moment is right, just like the Bushera, you will feel it at first, then your success will manifest and be yours for the dishing.
Bon Apetit and have a great week!
P.S Happy new year! January was a year on its own…