The team boarded the bus after dinner on Saturday for a one way ride to the airport. It was not as sad as I feared it would be. We all worked so hard, gave so much, learned, shared, and felt the Spirit move among us in ways that surpass all we hoped or expected. The mission was accomplished in ways that were certainly above and beyond all I hoped to see happen. It doesn’t surprise me though because God was the point leading us so we could accomplish all He meant to do. And I think we did. I’m left feeling the good sensation of having had my favorite meal, and in need of a long rest to digest.
For our last day we did not plan one thing to do so everyone would have time to regroup our things, rest a little before the long trip home and have opportunity to shop for gifts and souvenirs one last time. Just being in the endless traffic jams of Kampala for hours a day is exhausting. Some day we hope to have a guest house on the property of the orphanage.
We all enjoyed spending some time together without the modern entertainments of our American world like the television, ipods, phones or video games. The absence of these things caused the younger crowd to make up skits to perform, games to play and I even suspect everyone worked on their story telling skills.
The adults thought this was such an interesting phenomenon, almost as if we had jumped back a few decades to the way it was for us when we were kids. I know this trip has convinced me to make sure there isn’t a television on our main floor in our new house. I understand we can’t keep this innocent and creative way of interacting when we go home to the technologies, but at least everyone was given a sound dose of what it is like to live without the modern conveniences. And we can hope the next time someone whines because they don’t have a car as good as their best friend or the latest version of that video game or ipod they will remember how easy it was to do without it all, maybe in some ways even better.
We walked to the dress shop after breakfast and picked up some ordered items. Jack informed me that he wants to have a custom made shirt! Really? He reasoned, because I had dresses, and Jordan ordered pajamas, that he would like a shirt made for him. Then he promised to babysit in exchange. We stopped into grocery stores to buy coffee for parents and I was thrilled to find a duplicate wash tub like the one I used when I was here in December adopting Kira. I regretted not taking it home with me, searched everywhere for the right one but they simply aren’t made in America, or obviously used for that matter. But my girl loves her bath time, and I can sit her in a basin of water with some toys and she’ll play and play, so this trip I’m bringing one home and I don’t care how much Craig shakes his head in confusion or laughs as my eccentricities. She’s an African girl, and she likes her African style bath. I imagine myself happily sitting beside her observing waves of giggles, splashes and happy faces. That’s worth a lot of trouble to make happen if you ask me.
During lunch the rains came down and we waited and waited for our bus who was stuck in traffic jams, but finally an hour and a half late by American standards he arrived right on time according to our Ugandan clocks. We took the kids to the African village for some tourist type of shopping. This is a place we visited often last trip, and one of the few places where you can find the coveted, “mzungu” shirts. It was fun for me to see everyone shopping and having a good time. Jack found his special friend that he bought so many things from at Christmas, they hugged each other and were happy to reunite. She gave him a unique musical instrument like they used at the ndere performance. Abigail heard this and she said, “I’m shopping with Jack in case anyone gives him any more free stuff!” Jordan approached me for ten dollars to buy a shirt he couldn’t live without. I negotiated five poopy diaper changes in exchange. He said four, so I said ok but all the ones in the airport on the way home, so he went back to the regular five but not the ones in public. Our little interchanged caused a few giggles, but he got his shirt so he was happy. I am thinking today I won’t have to change a diaper!
We enjoyed a coffee at “ 1000 cups” and then headed home. The jams were so clogged when we were a few blocks away that we jumped out of the bus and walked the rest of the way home. Everyone was packed, and Harriet served her last meal before we all waved good-bye.
My children, Whitney and Andres have remained with me. We were all tired and a little worn down with our health so they all went back to the hotel for the night while I shifted Kira and I into our smaller room. When I closed the door behind me, lowered her into her crib for a good night’s sleep, I exhaled. It was the first time I had been alone in weeks. I could feel my mind begin to decompress and all the usual thinking slowly began to return to me. I could make sure I knew where all of my things were, read my bible, sorted some photos, ate some chocolate and slipped off into a peaceful sleep. I’m looking forward to a serious Sabbath day of rest and recuperation, organization and preparation for the two day safari ahead of us. And there’s a part of me that can’t wait to stand on the balcony of Paraa lodge and hear the hippos honking from the Nile River below. It will be my fourth safari, and not one is alike, a new adventure every time. Oh I hope the grass isn’t too tall to see lions.