Jack slept until noon and still awoke groggy with bed head and a stumble. Kira had the lay of the land long before he was awake and took it upon herself to give him orientation. As soon as Robert could drop the kids home after church he fetched us to go visit with them. We moved them to a new house in a neighborhood farther away in the middle of December. This house is just the right size for our Kirabo Seeds family. Best of all there is a lovely porch for them to play on and a good size flat yard with both grass and a hard surface.
The warmest welcome received us, truthfully more for Jack than for me and I wouldn’t want it any other way. The kids took me on the grand tour of their new abode, beginning with their stinking chickens who hang out behind the outdoor latrines. Grace the cat was curling around the children’s feet, swatting with her paws at the hem of my skirt. Everyone loves having a kitty around, especially Musa, he is most attached to her. They are so eager to begin searching for their new puppy. They return to school February 4 so this is a good time for them to help train their new companion and guard dog.
I found Auntie Julie inside her big kitchen cooking happily. The back door swung open and her charcoal stoves fired up simmering large pots. It is such a blessing for me that she loves to cook. I remember her peering over my shoulder during our adoption learning new techniques. Now she’s quite a masterful cook for a very large family and she loves it. Personally I count it a great blessing to be used by God to help her find her calling in life.
We sat in the living room and I showed the children the book I had made of all the supporters and sponsors who were able to send us photos. The kids knew each name of most of the pictures. They were so sad that we didn’t have everyone in there, but I can always make a volume two. They will pray for you and they thank God every day for the life they are able to live. They are most grateful for the simple pleasures of full tummies, cozy beds, clothes, medicines and the good care they receive.
Phiona and Robert had to take Daniel to go to the doctor to be tested for malaria. They returned with a positive report, but his parasite count wasn’t too terrible. He perked up after the first round of medicine and joined the family. At the same time I nursed my Jack who is suffering stomach upset and an uncomfortable outburst of eczema. He had eczema last summer, so I was prepared this time with the right creams. Stress. My sweet boy can’t suffer without it breaking my heart.
The children’s home has a large family room that extends deep into the house. To the right is the kitchen with back door perch and behind the kitchen is the attached garage which is painted bright orange and is called the reading room. This is where the long tables and benches are kept. Also the two bookshelves are in there. I promptly began to line the shelves with more books I brought that have been donated to the children. They gathered around eyes wide and lifted them out as fast as I could put them out. As I surveyed the books from the summer I can see they are getting good use. Robert has his own outside building that is his alone. Julie has her own bedroom, and there are three bedrooms for the children, much larger than the former home! There is room for them to play. I love it and from the way they run and play so do they.
When Phiona returned from the clinic we sat them down for the first handout of new things I have brought from America. We unzipped the large duffle and the first thing they saw was the new soccer ball. The boys all screamed and gave me big hugs. I could see they were ready to bolt for the door but there was more in that bag. Phiona gave each of the four girls their own black baby doll! They squealed and hugged them, then looked them over head to toe as any new mother would do inspecting for perfection and surely finding it. Phiona gave them the changes of clothing and the special crib for them to sleep in when it was bedtime. I got big hugs then they darted for their bedroom. Phiona distributed all the clothing we had for the boys that were donated…really nice things that made the boys shout! There were three belts they all wanted so we decided to make them prizes for earning tickets! Bravo, the team came to that conclusion themselves. The boys would have to behave and be very good to get a chance at those prized belts.
I sought out the girls in their room while the boys received their clothing. They were on the floor dressing their babies in cute outfits, then carefully folding away the pajamas they came wearing. I assembled the crib and they just couldn’t stop gushing with happiness over becoming instantly new moms. They hugged the dolls, tossed them up in the air, spun around with them, and cradled them with tender care as if to comfort their secret hurts. I personally have never experienced the kind of joy in observing a carefully chosen gift received with unbelievable enthusiasm. I under stand now why Oprah did the big give aways. It is so much more fun to surprise someone and give a gift that makes them squeal, jump and wonder how in the world it could be possible. It wasn’t long before we found the girls with a wash basin in the grass and they were all soaping up their babies carefully washing in all the folds and wrinkles before soothing them with a towel. In my life this was definitely in the top ten of best feelings.
Kira observed them with their dolls and understood they were not for her, nor did she receive anything from that bag. Can I just report with a happy heart that she didn’t whine once for her own doll, which she left tucked into her bed? She observed the girls and fit right into everything they did all day. I’ll share more about her fascinating memory of everyone soon. Let’s just say there’s something in her that knows she really belongs here and loved having new friends to play with all day long. She seems delighted that everyone looks just like her but she doesn’t yet have the complexity of thought to express it. I can see by her glow and shine that she feels it.
Without warning on a dusty dry season afternoon the sky unloaded a full shower upon us all. There was a big tarp in the driveway with the home grown maize drying out there in the previously sunny day. The children all scrambled to gather up the corn and haul it inside the reading room. It was swift and no one had to ask them twice, they knew it couldn’t get wet. This is maize they planted themselves one long hard working day in the garden several months ago. They have great pride in their produce. Later after a delicious lunch of rice, chicken stew and steamed vegetables I found Julie and Judy, our new house helper popping the kernels off the corn husks into large sacks. I sat with them and began to help. It always surprises people when the boss wants to get the hands into the work. But Julie knows me, I like to have my hands in deep. It wasn’t long before everyone had gathered a bowl and were huddled around popping white dry kernels into a bowl. We laughed, had speedy competitions, chatted happily about daily life and enjoyed our reunion catching up on news. It was one of the highlights of my life! To sit there in community with the family and enjoy working with the harvest from the land we struggled to own, knowing now it was not only feeding the family, but everyone was involved in making it happen. Kira was a most diligent kernel popper with great stamina and focus for the job. These sacks of maize will be taken to a place where they will grind it into posho for them to eat. There’s no doubt Auntie Julie will turn it into something savory for all (but me….can’t stand posho) to enjoy.
As the sky became the golden glow with a setting sun we prepared to leave the children. Kira had skipped her nap and was mostly confused about her biological timing so I stripped her down in the yard and gave her a basin bath. She protested at first but I ignored her. Within in minutes of standing in the cool water and feeling me refresh her skin with it she began to help me soap her up. I rinsed her with the same bath water, toweled her off, dressed her in another outfit with just enough time to spare before she passed out on my lap for the journey home. She had her best day too.
It is so good to be here again. I am humbled to see the fruit of my labors in action before my eyes. I am thankful God will use my gifts and talents to make this home happen for these people I love with great passion….increasing passion….explosive red headed passion.
I wrote this in the middle of the night while my own body clock rejects what I have asked it to do. Rather than skip the next couple hours of sleep I will post this without photos. If there is power and internet I will add photos in the morning. I’m going to do my best to grab at the times here where there is power and get my blogs posted. Hopefully with photos but they take ages to upload. I’ll naturally blog long after I return home and promise not to withhold the best shots I can capture.