- The photo above is from the performance: Watoto Restore Tour, opening scene
- Oct 2009 I went to Uganda for a mission trip to work for the Comforter Center
- On our free day we visited Watoto Bulrushes baby home to play with the orphans
- On that visit I knew for certain the next thing I was meant to do with my life was to go home and begin the adoption process for a little Ugandan girl
- The only surprise to my husband was that it took so long for his prayer to be answered- that I’d be willing and ready to adopt a baby.
- We are expecting to return to Kampala to get our daughter soon.
- Meanwhile we’ve had numerous visitors to our home from Uganda! Pastor Robert, Veronica from the Comforter center, and the Watoto Restore tour.
- When we arrived in Kampala Oct. 2009 to stay at the usual guest house our church has used, a new missionary family was temporarily renting this house. We weren’t expecting what would happen next…. and this is where today’s story begins.
Wayne and Tarah Thomas welcomed us from the porch of the guest house as we unloaded our travel weary selves. It was a warm American greeting in a foreign place. Their three children were curious about us and quickly folded each of us into the life they were making there by showing us the bugs they have captured, the new guard dog, the place where we eat breakfast and how to unlock the iron grate door to get onto the front porch.
After we settled we spoke with Wayne and Tarah to learn they had only been in Kampalaa couple months themselves. Wayne was hired by Watoto to engineer and produce the Watoto World Tour. At that point the restore tour was still an idea. This was the first time I heard the word “Watoto”. They tossed it around as if it were like pizza dough and everyone knew what it was. I said to Tarah, “I don’t have a clue what Watoto is.” She answered me, “well, in this town everyone knows what Watoto is, you’ll hear all about it and see it everywhere. It is the biggest church in Uganda and it has so many ministries to help the orphans and people to help themselves as they move forward towards a better Uganda.” The littlest Thomas child, Harley with a Tinkerbell face and curvy ponytails above each ear said to me as one who knows it all, “Watoto mean “child”. Thank you Harley, that helped.
During our mission trip they worked us hard with long days. But every night when we arrived at the guest house Wayne and Tarah were waiting up to spend some time with us. I have been an expat myself once before, so I knew without asking Tarah that she was in the difficult phase where the novelty of being some place foreign has worn off and the reality that this is home settles in. That reality often has a measure of impossibility tossed into the mix of feelings. We were her boost! We encouraged her and applauded her efforts to immerse herself into the African culture. She in turn helped us understand what it was to actually live in Kampala as a “mzungu” (white person). We learned so much by talking with them. Wayne would take Pastor Omar and myself to the internet cafe so we could do our blogging. And once he took the coffee lovers to his favorite coffee shop in town to show us that it isn’t all open markets and bodabodas in Kampala. (boda bodas are the dangerous motorbike taxis that zip around like drunken hummingbirds through the streets).
Tarah celebrated her birthday on one of our last days there and her wish was to spend it with us at the Watoto Bulrushes baby home. We got a tour of this incredible facility, learned about the program, and then we got to spend the afternoon playing with countless darling babies. My job was photographer on the trip. I was so busy taking pictures, I was missing out on the play. Wayne took my camera from me and began to photograph me and the others so I could play with the babies. That’s such a rare treat for me. Everyone is always intimidated by my camera so much that they wouldn’t dream of doing me that favor! I was most thankful for that kindness.
Wayne has spent the year assembling all the facets of making this world tour. Our Pastor Omar naturally booked them to visit here and it was just a God thing that Tarah and the kids were here at the same time, it had never been planned. The reunion with Tarah was great for me. I spent the afternoon on Sunday with her. I extracted her from the group and gave her a girlie hour shopping at the mall. I also know you have to do your clothes shopping while you are in America because it’s the cheapest place in the world to get good clothes. I look forward to seeing her while I am in Kampala. She’s a hairdresser for Mzungus for all of you out there looking to get a cut while in Kampala. I can hook you up! For now Africa is her home, and while she’s been in the states for a month, she’s eager to go back to Uganda. It was a long transition for her heart, but with faith and God’s love she found her way to accepting where she’s been planted, and my is she ever blooming there.
Tomorrow I will talk about the Tour itself, the content of the production and the story it tells.