Once upon a time, there lived a young handsome man on the slopes of Mt. Elgon in eastern Uganda. His name was Masaba, which is the local name for Mt. Elgon, a mountain that people regard with reverence. It was therefore a very special name for this young man.
Masaba lived up to his name by being a perfect, ideal young man. He was hardworking, respectful of all people, especially elders, and very pleasant. But most important of all, Masaba was the son of the chief of the clan.
It was Masaba's father who had led his people from a distant place in the unknown East to this new land the people called Bugisu. He was a great leader. He was unlike other chiefs in that he never demanded to be called "King."
He was a leader with no real title. Those who chose to call him chief did so because of the great respect they had for him. It was no wonder that his son was brought up to work hard for the improvement of the clan. People showed their love for their chief by bringing him gifts such as chickens, goats, and fresh produce which he in turn, shared with the poor.
Masaba was a most eligible bachelor and the villagers were anxiously awaiting his selection of a girl to become his wife. Masaba on the other hand was involved in so many different projects he never thought of marriage. Since it seemed he would never make a move, the elders encouraged some pretty girls to distract him.
After an hour another girl came carrying a fancy basket. "Mulembe, yaya!," she greeted Masaba. "Mulembe!," he answered. Once more, not knowing what to say, he asked "What a pretty basket, who made it?" "Of course, I did. I make the best baskets around," she boasted. Masaba went back to his work without another word.
Walking back to his home he gave further thought to the three girls who had visited him. He wondered why these girls were suddenly paying attention to him. Then it dawned on him! In Bugisu, girls will only do such things if they are sent by elders to drop hints to bachelors who are taking their time. He laughed to himself and went to talk to his father about it.
As he lay in his bed in the cool night, Masaba laid out a plan. He wanted a humble, modest girl; a polite and intelligent girl who would help him develop the community. He was certain he wanted a girl with leadership qualities. He remembered his friend Wangolo who had married a hard-working woman. He was going to talk to Wangolo. Maybe his wife, Nasike, would have a good recommendation.
The next day, Wangolo felt honored to be taken into such confidence by Masaba. He and his wife were going to make sure they didn't introduce Masaba to a bimbo. They promised the would get back to him. But even before Masaba had left, Nasike knew just the right person. It had to be Nambozo.
Nambozo, together with some other young women had started a gardeners’ club which had already begun getting recognition throughout Bugisu. The members of the club would meet at 6:00 a.m. at one person's farm and work for half the day. They would plant, weed and harvest crops. They would rotate from one member's garden to another and at harvest time share the produce.
Although the club was popular, not just anyone was permitted to join. You had to have a reputation for hard work and it was Nambozo who interviewed and recruited the club's members. For her young age, having such a responsibility was a great achievement. This week they were working at Nambuya's banana plantation. Nasike called Nambozo aside when they took their sugar cane snack break and asked her if she had time to join her for dinner in two day's time. Nambozo accepted with pleasure because she knew there would be smoked bamboo, which was a treat since it was not in season. Nasike never ran out of smoked bamboo. She somehow had it all year around, even when other people had eaten all theirs.
"Who else is coming? Do I need to braid may hair?” Nambozo wanted to know. "No, just wash it well and apply coconut oil. That will make it shine," replied Nasike. She knew Masaba was not a superficial man. He was the kind of person who would not judge a person from the style of her hair .
It was a delightful dinner, although the conversation was quite formal. Wangolo, Nasike, Masaba and Nambozo talked about the future of the gardeners’ club and the prospects of encouraging the young ladies to improve their skills and production. Masaba soon realized Nambozo was his type of person and that they had a lot in common. They were both interested in the clan's development.