Aside from the children, there are few things I will truly miss about Uganda.
One of those things, however, is the simplicity of this life. For the past week and a half or so, the electricity has been real spotty. There have been a few different times where the electricity has been out for a couple of days.
Everything continues on.
When it becomes dark (7ish pm) they bring out candles, light them, pour a wee bit of wax on a wee metal plate and stick the candle to the plate.They cook over charcoal burners.The plumbing requires no electricity to move along seeing as it comes from a large 220 liter tub and put into smaller buckets or tubs as needed to wash. While the TV is entertaining, the kids normally won’t finish an entire feature-length moving in one sitting (except for The Sound of Music, which they all seem to love).They’d much rather prefer to make paper beads and weave together palm leaves to be made into purses.
Walking to the main road in Nansana, the headlights of the cars make certain that I won’t fall into a ditch and all the stores are lighted in the same manner as the orphanage with candles stuck to plates.
A couple weekends ago, I went with Kate to another project (Abaana) in Gayaza. It was about two hours and 35 miles away. We took a taxi to the new taxi park in Kampala, walked to the old taxi park, hopped on another taxi to Gayaza. Once in Gayaza, we rode a boda-boda (something I swore I’d never do, but have ended up doing numerous times in recent weeks) the remainder of the way to the homes. On the return boda-boda ride (which was quite lengthy), I was able to enjoy the landscape of the Ugandan countryside.
During the whole package ordeal, on my short boda-boda right to the airport from Entebbe, I saw cranes hanging out in parks and amazing views of Lake Victoria.
All of it was breathtaking, absolutely breathtaking. Outside of the smog and insanity that is Kampala and the closely surrounded areas such as Nansana, Uganda is really peaceful. Cattle, goats and chicken roam around everywhere. I wish I studied botany more because I would be able to identify all the beautiful greenery.
I am really looking forward to a running shower, a flushing toilet and baking some cookies in my dad’s oven. But I know all of that comes with the busyness I’ve thoroughly enjoyed avoiding for the past 11 weeks. The only phone calls I’ve had to deal with are my mom’s, whose voice I’ve look forward to hearing. I haven’t worried about missing an important call about tonight’s plans. I haven’t worried about the price of gas (currently, I hear it is quite low) or my leaky gas tank. I haven’t had a specific schedule to which I’ve needed to adhere. I haven’t cared if my pimples are covered up. In addition to the children’s hands exploring my face, the makeup would only further clog my pores.
More so than the simplicity of the materialistic aspect this life away has granted me, I will miss the simplicity of these children’s love.
Frida, a little girl of a strange breed, called me “momma” a few times the other day. Kate heard it and we both looked at each other and had a bit of a what did she just say moment. And you better believe, if I was in the position financially and emotionally to take a handful of these children as my own, I would without a second thought. Frida can be quite moody for an almost two-year-old, but the past couple of days I’ll pick her up, squeeze her tight and shower her with kisses until she pushes me away. She responds the same every time. She smiles really big, lets out a little laugh and reaches for my glasses until I go to kiss her cheeks again.
Bob is a seven-year-old boy. Remember, he’s the one who cried during the group worksheets. Around the rest of the kids, he runs from my hugs and kisses. When I say “nkwagalagwe” (I love you), he replies “sekwagala” (I don’t love). But when it’s just him and I, he’ll unashamedly let me plant a peck on his forehead. And when we are in a big group, he’ll often find his over to me. The other night before dinner, he came over to me as I was sitting in a chair and just stood by me. He let his hand find its way to the bend of my elbow and linked his hand around my arm. As he became tired waiting for dinner, he kneeled on the ground and rest his head on my lap. I offered to hold him, but he was more content doing it his way.
My mom wrote me an email on Thanksgiving when she couldn’t get a hold of me and ended it by telling me that I’ve been tattooed on the children’s hearts. And I hope that’s true, but each of the 28 children has left a distinct, remarkable, beautiful tattoo on my heart. And you’ve only just heard about two of them.
I love you and I miss you, but it’s getting close to lunch time, followed by nap time so I should be getting back to the orphanage.