Monday, January 21, 2008
Return to Reality
As Scott often says, one can love and hate this place with equal intensity, and alternate many times per day. So as we drove in last night, it was mostly love: spotting a troupe baboons awkwardly clambering down a tree, seeing the vast Ituri forest cut by the silver snake of the Semliki and a mist of distant rain, slowing for a bridge two hours from home and having a young man call through the open truck windows “Ehh, hi Jack-a!” (he was a Christ School student from the cross country team) and watching Jack’s face melt into a huge smile of the one known and welcomed, hearing neighbors cheer as we drove into our house, watching the kids reunite with our remaining dog Star, enjoying the fellowship of Pat and Scott who prepared a feast, realizing how much more at home we feel on the equator. All this is real, but reality has another sharper edge, and it doesn’t take long to experience the other emotions . . . We were still unpacking the car when the toilet flooded the entire bathroom and a lake of water was seeping into the rest of the house by the time Julia thankfully went back inside and noticed the problem, Scott fired up the kerosene fridge to get it ready for our two months’ worth of meat and fresh food so that when I opened the door back up to start unpacking the cooler I found that the roaches who had set up home there in our absence were dying from the falling temperature (no matter how long I live here, I still find roaches thoroughly disgusting), then went to unpack the groceries and found that the jolting ride had caused an entire jar of honey to distribute itself over a huge box of dry goods. Life is messy, and the moments of shalom (a dozen friends here now playing football with my kids) alternate with the moments of despair (home for twelve hours and already being approached for jobs, loans, help in various ways). So it goes.