Group decision making

Yesterday, a woman came in my office asking me to keep a kitenge (printed cloth) for another lecturer, and of course I agreed. Then she asked me if I wanted to look at the other bitenge (plural of kitenge). I knew I needed to say no, but I said yes.

So this happened.

I wish I could offer a good reason for my lack of restraint because I SO do not need another kitenge, but look at it! It’s gorgeous.
I love my bitenge dresses: they’re custom designed and tailored, and clearly, bitenge is a weakness of mine.

So now that I had this gorgeous kitenge, I couldn’t decide whether to have it made into a dress, or a blouse and skirt that I could wear with my clericals, so I went to find Vicky, one of UCU’s recent graduates who is temporarily working in the chaplaincy, and who is always very smart (looks very nice).

When I entered the office, Simon and Tony were in the office with Vicky. I showed the kitenge to Vicky, and since this is Uganda and conversations always include whoever is in earshot, Simon and Tony joined Vicky in expressing their admiration.

I asked Vicky what I should do with it (dress v. skirt), and Simon immediately said, “You make a dress with it.” Pardon? He tugged on the sleeve of the kitenge dress I was wearing, and reiterated, “Like this. You make one like this one.” Tony agreed.

And that is how we make decisions in Uganda: groupthink is the order of the day if there are enough people to form a group. Vicky and I then debated the merits of a dress vice a skirt, and which direction the squiggles should go, and we ultimately decided that I need to consult my tailor, so I will. Groupthink can always benefit from another voice.

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