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Friday, November 19, 2010

Homesick, but seeing

Basime's small window of intact vision has been preserved, for now. The surgery was successful, and he continues to heal, slowly. Because his eye has absolutely NO reserve, Dr. B is monitoring him very closely. Which means that Basime has been in America for almost a month now, and still has at least a week or two to go. Where he finds himself living in unimaginable luxury. This is a kid whom we helped rent his own tiny mud-floored room as a teen, because as an orphan the corner he'd been given at his aunt's house was in a room she used for her alcohol-selling business, and he was finding it impossible to sleep or study in the noisy confusion of the impromptu bar. Now he's being looked after by saints from Tennessee, complete with a tastefully decorated bedroom, private bath, internet access, new shoes, and unlimited food. So it surprised him this week that he felt a certain heaviness in his chest, and a longing for home. That he missed kahunga and sombe and the familiar sun-soaked village, here in the land of dreams.
Which made this the perfect time to go and visit him. We drove from my sister's in North Carolina westward to Chattanooga. When we traced the home where he was staying, his face glowed as we all greeted each other in Lubwisi. I forgot how tiny Ugandans look here in the land of the large. We took him out for the afternoon, and he talked and talked. Perhaps because so much had been stored up inside, or he was with people who got his accent (or maybe he's talking all the time to everyone, I don't know). I love seeing America through his eyes, a view similar to our own kids' views.
What do you do for an afternoon in Chattanooga? We chose to make a pilgrimage to Covenant College. This small institution has been well represented in Bundibugyo. All of the Herrons, for starters. Wendy Gray first came as a student. Teachers Matt Allison and Ashley Wood, interns including the two who fled from the rebels with us, and more. We went to pay homage to the place that formed these remarkable friends, to show our kids the school (who knows? the brochure says 99% get some kind of financial aid), and to give Basime the chance to see the place his friends Peter and Lydia and Luke Herron studied. Since Basime is enrolled in a Library Science degree at Uganda Christian University, we thought he should see an American library. And whom should we find behind the desk, but Laurel Brauer, another WHM MK! Small world.
Our day passed too quickly, and ended with a lovely meal with Dr. B, his wife, newborn son, and inlaws. This family has sacrificed thousands of dollars and countless hours to save Basime's vision. It still makes me shake my head in awe that God provided for our paths to cross at the exactly right time, and moved them to go to such extraordinary lengths for a kid they barely knew.
When we said goodbye, Basime told us that he no longer felt homesick, that being with us was like being home. But I found that being with him only made me miss Uganda and all our "kids" there more. So one case of glaucoma and homesickness cured, but another case only deepens.


harryk said...

Looks like 2 "good" cases of homesickness:

1) For Basime - because he values the relationships of home more than the potentially overwhelming material things of the U.S.

2) For you - because it helps confirm that your heart is in the work and the people to whom you'll be returning ...and in the treasures you're helping gather for His kingdom. "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." (Luke 12:34)

Anonymous said...

Yay for being in Chattanooga, TN!!! My home! I have a little "hero worship" when it comes to you guys, and I can't believe that you are so close to me right now! Yay for Basime and so thankful for the generosity of those who have helped him!