zanzibar 019Part 1

“What is in a name?”

When I worked in Psychiatry, one of the questions we asked was “Who are you named after?” Were you named after a favourite aunt or uncle? Has the person changed over the years since your birth? What do you like and dislike about that person you are named after? Whether consciously or unconsciously, our name has some affect as to who we are!!!!!

My name, Margo was chosen for me by my parents. They wanted a simple name which could not be altered, changed or shortened such as Elizabeth. They searched but did not find a suitable name. My godparents had just returned back from traveling in Europe. They were telling stories about their adventures. One stories was about an amazing travel agent in Paris called Margo. My parent fell in love with the name and I became Margo. It is because I am named after a travel agent that I love to travel and experience different cultures and people from across the world and that one of my favourite cities is Paris? It may have some affects subconsciously. It was not until I worked in Psychiatry that I was aware of this…..

So, over the past 17 months, I have lived in the rural village of Kibaale. In the beginning before anyone knew my name or how to pronounce it, I was called Muzungu (the white person). Over the months, I was called My Muzungu, I become part of their community. I have been called Muzungu Margo, Aunty Margo, Sister Margo, Madame Margo, Jajja (grandmother or wise person) Margo, my friend Margo, the Mother of the clinic and just recently Jajja of orphans. Will these names change who I am? I think to some degree the answer is YES….. The folks in Kibaale saw parts of me I have never even considered or been aware of. I guess to know oneself better or deeper or through the eyes of other people is a good thing. I am thankful for their insight.

In the beginning, the village of Kibaale, the students and staff wondered who I was and why I was there. Yes, I was a Muzungu, I was the only white person for over 30 miles in any direction. I was in my 60s, a single woman never married; no children. All of this does not make sense in the Ugandan culture where children are what makes you who you are.

I had come to help in the clinic. I was not coming to run Kibaale Community Centre. I was not a nurse, nor a doctor but a volunteer offering my services to help care for the sick students, staff and community members. I was not like other muzungu who had come to live in Kibaale. I was different… and I heard that comment over and over again. We are all unique… just like we all have different fingerprints, we are all individuals and not the same as anyone else.

Now, in Kibaale I have many names…. but I am still me, Margo.

Part 2

“What is in a name?”

In Canada and in the United States, many business are named after the family or someone in the family like Johnston & Johnston, or Sam’s cafe, or Jeffery and sons Auto parts. In Uganda, how business are name has confused me right from the very beginning. Let me give you a few example of some business and the name given it. I continue to have a chuckle over some of them.

• Tru Val U Guesthouse
• My Cheap and Good Guesthouse
• Half London Hotel
• Poor Quality Hotel
• Jesus Loves me Hotel
• Mary, Joseph and Jesus Hotel
• The 3 Wiseman stayed Here
• Come in and see Guesthouse
• Open Hand Guesthouse
• We come All Guesthouse

• Smart Shoppers Supermarket
• Pal’s Supermarket
• Armani Books
• Banana Chick restaurant
• Good Samaritan Supermarket
• Smart Stoppers Supermarket
• God’s planning Supermarket
• Jesus’ Eye grocery store
• Need Help Supermarket
• Quality Ceap price Supermarket
• Princess Dye Saloon
• Over the moon shop (who knows what they sell)

• Jesus smiles Pharmacy
• God Heals Pharmacy
• Willing to help Pharmacy
• If God is willing Pharmacy
• Quality and cheap Pharmacy
• Hope Pharmacy
• Peace Pharmacy
• Believe Pharmacy
• Jesus is faithful Pharmacy
• Wait and See Pharmacy
• Free Doom Pharmacy

Each of these places of business wants you to come in. You know very little about the business from the name. The only way to truly know what the business is all about is to enter and check them out. I have discovered some wonderful places in spite of their name. It is not what is in a name that counts but who is behind the name? A business is only as good as the people who run it and care for it.

How did you get the name? What do you think about your name? What does it say about who you are?