It doesn’t seem possible that I could fly from Texas to Africa with my eleven year old son and three year old daughter without a single snag in our travels. The very moment I needed Kira to have a tantrum she did it without prompting. Jack’s seat was behind us and naturally I wanted him to sit with us. So I put Kira in the seat next to the stranger. She saw Jack had a plastic tray of fruit and cheese and she wanted to control that tray from her lap. When I said no, she pitched her little hissy fit at the exact moment a horrified gentleman realized she was sitting next to him. That’s when I asked him if my son in the aisle seat behind him could switch and he visibly showed me the kind of relief that only comes after a miracle. Other than that we had a smooth shift from one continent to the other.
I can close my eyes any time, anywhere and see the busy lives of Ugandans in action. It starts with the deep red dirt roads, rich green foliage after a rain, dark skinned people walking as far as I can see. Women carry bundles on their heads while walking briskly. Men drive bodas, lean over their work with busy hands, or slice large chunks of raw meat hanging from hooks in the fresh air. Small children dutifully follow their mothers, silent with eyes wide watching everything carefully.
Turning into the neighborhood where our children’s home is nestled gives me chills. As far as I can see it looks like rural Africa, if I couldn’t hear the traffic I’d believe we were in a village. There’s a rhythm here with a stronger pulse and a slower pace. I do feel like I am home. It feels like I am ripped out of my life in Texas when I prepare to travel so far. I get weepy and insecure about leaving my family and life. But as soon as I smell the air in Uganda and listen to the tropical birds all the unsettled places in my heart grow quiet while my excitement to be in this place mounts. Once I catch up on my sleep I wonder why I didn’t plan to stay longer. (Because that makes my husband weep.)
We were deposited into my new apartment late at night. Kira was hyper, screaming instead of speaking, and using the walls like a trampoline. I had to wrestle her into the bath and bed. Phiona and Robert had shopped for our beds and fridge so we collapsed and kissed goodnight. Somewhere around five in the morning a strong rain storm opened up on us. It ruined my Friday market shopping opportunity so we slept in a little more. Robert picked us up and we went to the children’s home to receive a warm welcome. They are all growing tall. I love receiving as many hugs at once as arms can reach around my body. I crave a deep look into their eyes. I beam at the sight of them greeting Jack and Kira, who refused to get out of the van and covered her eyes for the first ten minutes.
While I enjoyed my coffee and had a catchup chat with Phiona we giggled as we saw Kira teaching some of the kids games she plays in school. She said, “follow the leader” and she was happy to be the leader for the whole game. They lost interest when she refused their turn to lead. We cuddled Samson our puppy and watched him run after the children. He’s a teething puppy now and the kids are growing scared of those sharp daggers in his mouth. I’ve got a lot of work to teach them how to behave with puppy.
In the middle of the afternoon while the children watched movies we went shopping for the apartment. I was able to get a round table and six chairs, a pretty rug from Egypt, and a cabinet for the kitchen. Apparantly the kitchens don’t come with cabinets. I needed a few appliances for cooking. We filled up four carts and arranged for delivery of our furniture. Tired from our shopping adventure we returned to the children who were having lessons and devotions with Kiah. We played outside for a while and then we walked to the apartment to set it up and make it feel like home.
The kids brought over our dinner while Robert hooked the gas to my stove. Kira nodded off while swallowing her rice and beans. She mostly slept through the quick shower (I have a little tiny hot water heater!) and I tucked her into bed where she slept in a sleeping beauty pose for hours while I set up home. I had flashes of scenes from the movie, Out of Africa, when she unpacked her dishes and arranged her home. I only wanted to spend one day of my time here focused on my comfort. I’m full of energy to get into serving the family and getting to know what the current needs are these days.
I love it here and feel so relaxed to have a place to call home when I come here. It will be a great place to rent to families who are here for adoption if I’m not here. Also, small mission teams will find this place comfortable especially for the short five minute walk to the children’s home. Now that this place is set and homey tomorrow will be time to get into action with the children. Thank you everyone who prayed for our safe travels. I hope the internet will be strong enough tomorrow for me to post photos.