Chapattis are sold all over Uganda. They are actually the result of Indian influence, I believe. They are similar to tortillas.
You can find them at various times, in various places. But most frequently you can buy one through the window of a taxi or bus while traveling, or at a “stand” along the road early in the morning, or in the evening after around 6:30pm.
About a five minute walk from my house there are a few shops. Every evening (well, I guess every morning too, but I don’t usually pass by there in the mornings…) two men set up stands right next to each other. The have big umbrellas covering their small tables. The dough is on the table, ready to go. There are also eggs in case you want a “rolex”. I don’t mean the watch…I mean eggs rolled up in a chapatti…rolled eggs…rolex. Next to the table is a charcoal stove, on a stand to set it at a convenient height. One chapatti fresh from a stand like this usually costs 500 Ugandan Shillings…That is the equivalent of 40 cents each.
Sometimes, if I’m not very hungry, and/or very tired in the evening, I will buy a chapatti for my supper.
Sometimes, if I’m VERY hungry, I will buy a chapatti to eat as a sort of appetizer to eat while I’m preparing my supper.
Sometimes, I will buy a chapatti as an escort for my supper. (Yeah, that was a Ugandan way of saying a side dish, or simply a part of the meal.)
Tonight was one of those nights when I wanted a chapatti as an escort for my meal. I realized I didn’t have money in my wallet, so I searched all over until I found a 1,000 note in my jacket pocket, then I headed out my door to get my chapatti.
I always go to the guy at the second stand. Never the first one. Why? I have no idea. But my chapatti guy and I have developed a typical customer/chapatti-man relationship. Anytime I walk past but don’t stop to buy, we smile and wave. When I do stop, we chat for a moment. He says has seen me attend a nearby church at some point…I think it was on Christmas.
Something I’ve learned from the locals here, and certainly have come to practice, is that once you have a relationship with someone, you always go to them for your shopping. I have my tailor in town, my produce lady (well, family) in the market, my shop keeper in the market for things like pasta and sugar, my egg lady, my fabric ladies…and my chapatti man.
Tonight as I went to my chapatti man with the only 1,000 shilling note I could find, I ordered the one chapatti I needed, costing me half of the bill that I was handing over. With a smile on his face, he said, “tonight I’m giving you two. The second one is a bonus.” Aaaahhh…one of the beauties of being a loyal customer is occasionally getting something for free. I love it when I hear “bonus” and see something extra going into my bag (mango, tomato, chapatti…)
As I was typing this up, I began thinking about how life is really about relationships. Ultimately, the most important relationship I have (or anyone of us could have) is with my Savior, Jesus Christ. He is the one I constantly go to. I can always count on Him. Even if I try going to someone or something else, they are never as good as Jesus, Himself. Oh, and He has given me countless bonuses: the gift of the Holy Spirit, God’s Word, the promise of eternity in Heaven, fellowship with believers, and so much more! That’s far better than any bonus chapatti!