Growing up in a country where war never ceases, every “boom” sound makes me freak out and panic, thinking people are shooting at each other or something. That having been said, it takes me back to how people in peaceful countries celebrate feasts and holidays.
It was in the year 2000 that I was in Johannesburg, South Africa, on the 31st of December. People were celebrating New Year’s Day. I was new in the city, and had to stay in the house reading when suddenly I heard heavy and continuous “boom” sounds outside. The whole town was noisy and people were screaming. I sprang outside thinking the war has started, looking in the sky seeing red obstacles flying I was like, “God! What’s going on?” and that’s when a countryman grabbed me and said, “it’s okay, calm down.” Then he explained to me what’s going on. That’s when I felt embarrassed, but a day later, I looked at it as hilarious and I had to share it with people to make them laugh.
Nine years later, my family, which spent years in refuge, finally settled in Kampala, Uganda and had to go through the same hilarious experience. This time it was the entire neighborhood, mainly refugees, that had a panic. It was more than funny when they were narrating what happened. It took some people many minutes before they could realize that it was not war. In war-torn countries, people will never be allowed to launch fireworks. In other words, most of the people don’t even know what they are. Personally, it wasn’t until the new millennium that I first experienced one and would not be surprised if that is the case for many.
Looking at July 4, if new refugees or immigrants are not alert about the launching of fireworks as a celebration of independence in the United State, you’ll have the same thing here where people bust out of their homes thinking that shooting or war has broken out… Even after my experience, my heart still beats every time sounds like that bust suddenly. Like my first July 4 in the United States, I panicked again, even though it was not like my first time but still, I felt embarrassed…
Funny, right! But hey! We have our ways of celebrating feasts and holidays which also may make some people in stable countries do some funny things. I guess that’s why people speak different tongues and eat different food. I just laugh every minute I remember this story and I’m glad I got to share it with you.
Keep in your mind to alert your refugees friends about July 4 and walk with them to the celebration to save them from having a heart attack when the noisy sounds of fireworks take place.