After two days of international flights and then a few hours of post-midnight crash-and-revive sleep, the four kids and I flew into Bundibugyo on a small MAF plane yesterday. Since our family exceeded the 5-person capacity many years ago . . . We haven’t flown for anything except medical emergencies recently. So it was quite a treat to arrive in one smooth hour of air rather than eight grueling hours on the road. And we had Garrett who is a very fun pilot and took us high over heather and bamboo mountain ravines, then an abrupt 9,000 foot swooping descent to buzz the airstrip and circle dramatically back around for a landing. But best of all was to be welcomed back into the arms of our caring team, smiling and hugging. Since leaving America always involves some tears and loss, it is a sweet moment to land back into community on this side of the ocean.
For a few days the roaches on my toothbrush will startle me, as well as the annoying habit people have of not speaking English as my Lubwisi stutters over my lazy tongue. Two neighbors have already come to tell us about the two huge snakes that crawled out of our yard and were killed on the road in the last few days. I’m thankful that our guardian angels were clearing the path for our arrival. Scott is still in Kampala stocking up on food, so for a couple of days I’m focusing on re-connecting in relationships rather than cooking and cleaning, living off the generosity of the team. This morning I went to see my neighbor who broke his hip while we were away—bittersweet, he’s my Dad’s age and shares some characteristics that take me back to a year ago. The delight on his wives’ faces as I opened the door at the hospital made me thankful for the friendships we have here. Checked in on Melen’s new preschool, and found Jonah seeing all the pediatric patients, other friends on the staff busy with their work. Luke and Caleb found their new uniforms and classes and were greeted with make-up exams. Julia and Jack had a happy reunion with Ivan and their team friends.
I always find the transitions stressful and find myself unenthusiastic about the input of energy that will be required over the next week to organize and resume life, to put away trunks full of American goodies and traveling clothes, to carve out time for the important things in life, to assemble a live-able working and eating and being schedule once again. It’s good to be home, but perhaps never more apparent that there is no real home on this earth.