Friday, July 30, 2010
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Friday, July 23, 2010
The good news is that only 2 bags were misplaced between Amsterdam and Washington, and should come today. And that my mom was helpfully accompanied to meet us at the airport by Nathan and Sarah, and since Nathan has been around to help us through a LOT in the last couple of years that felt very normal. And that they stayed for dinner adding to the sense of a smooth world-crossover. And that my mom got two more beds for growing kids, making it comfortable for all of us to fit in after 4 more years and MANY more inches. And that there was still an old guitar Caleb can play under a bed. And that this house is air-conditioned and bursting with food and very comfortable and familiar.
Today, however, we've moved out of the safety of 118 Lake Drive and run smack up against America: apparent abundance that is tricky to access. In Africa you can buy a phone sim card for a couple of dollars even in remote villages. Cell-phone communication is easy. We have not previously ever had an American cell phone . . but we want to be able to communicate, so today we hit a bunch of stores to buy sim cards to put in our phones. No deal. Everything here is contracts, big business, lots of money, rules, and restrictions. We were about to be resigned to that and just buy new phones and contract-plans when we double-checked the list of "over 100 countries" we can text on the ATT plan, and noticed only about 5 are in Africa, and do not include Uganda or Kenya. Not helpful. My computer won't send out email on my mom's network, so the ten or so emails I had written are stuck in the outbox. We went to the Division of Motor Vehicles to register Luke for a learner's permit and between the long line of people and the layers of more rules (two proofs of identity, birthdate, Virginia residency, etc.) and the realization that he can't get a real license until he's over 19 (which is a year and a half from now) unless he takes a 36-hour education course . . all felt pretty discouraging. Life is complicated here. And we are novices. It's going to take time, and patience. Roads that used to be 2-lane country drives are now 6- or 8-lane divided super-highways. One of the suspected Somali bomber masterminds was arrested trying to leave the USA and hailed from Fairfax County Virginia, very nearby. We don't know how to live here anymore, and it has changed in ways that are almost unrecognizable.
Classic culture shock: "why do they do it this way" kind of thinking, and the discouragement that comes from no longer being competent adults ( with phones, car, internet, house, jobs, status) and instead entering a position of complete dependence (none of the above). I know it's good for us. But it's not fun. And we haven't even BEEN grocery shopping yet, thanks to my mom's generosity . . . if you haven't seen that scene in Hurt Locker, it's worth the price of the movie.
So you have to feel all that to appreciate the two highlights of the day: driving to the Loudoun County Public Health Department Luke and I were at a stoplight, and the guy in the car next to us was gesticulating for us to roll down the window. Oh no, I'm probably doing something completely wrong . . . we rolled down the window and he asked a question about directions. A question I could answer! He thought we lived here! And we fooled him! And second highlight, sitting in the public health department, I realized I HAVE NO AMERICAN MONEY AND NO CREDIT CARD. I went through my purse and came up with Euros and Uganda shillings and Kenya shillings . . but nothing American. Whoops. Not smart. But the chicken pox vaccine was FREE because it was required by school, and the two nurses running the clinic could not have been nicer about it. Thankful. Maybe if we meet enough people like this, we'll improve. But right now the case of shock is quite serious.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Monday, July 19, 2010
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Monday, July 12, 2010
Sunday, July 11, 2010
Friday, July 09, 2010
Thursday, July 08, 2010
Julia has been communing with her cows, a way of saying goodbye, as she strokes their noses and they nuzzle up against her.
Jack has been reading Redwall and hanging out with his dog.
Yesterday CSB let out for midterm. Some of Julia's friends from the football team came to visit, play a game, take a snap, give a hug and a homemade friendship bracelet. Sweet.
Our boys sat on the porch and we reminisced. These are the people it is hardest to leave. Their presence is a beauty and a wound. Gracious letters to every member of our family which we will keep and treasure.
Last day of rounds felt very normal. Keep praying for Assusi whom God seems to be giving vision and strength for the tasks ahead, and Biguye who had taken on the task of fixing the broken ward door hinges himself . . . a symbol that we won't be solving those kind of problems anymore. Hauled a sack of years of stuffed animals into the Pediatric ward store, but could not bear to be the one to hand them out to the kids on the ward, they are like familiar little family members being sent into foster care. Will have to be done when I'm gone.
Heavy-hearted through team meeting, pizza, and a dance party. Tried to make my feet move with some joy, but gave up when Aidan welcomed my lap. Letting go.
Moment of panic when we checked on our Monday departure flight time, and in spite of an email a month ago telling us we were confirmed the flight had not made it into their scheduling books. Frantic phone calls and gracious MAF pilots and we're set again.
Torn hearts too, as Caleb tries to take exams from the infirmary where he's having the same high-fever flu Luke just survived, and Luke is getting information about his residential college placement at Yale, simultaneous worlds which we need to inhabit emotionally while we say goodbyes here.
To end the day, the bike Julia's been riding (an old one of the boys') was stolen last night during team meeting/pizza time. Harsh reality, that for many we are merely an opportunity for enrichment.
Woke this morning remembering what I'm preaching to others: God goes with us.