Monday, May 7, 2012

Time to Say Goodbye

The day before we were to leave Uganda, we set out to say goodbye. We made the long, smog filled, trek from Kampala to Jinja. We were in the roach coach again. The vehicle that was infested with cockroaches. If a crumb hit the floor, the roaches came running. Per the kids' request, we brought 2 bunches of bananas to the orphanage with us. When I went to grab for them, I had forgotten about those nasty bugs until I saw one darting between the bananas. I'll admit, I was a weenie. I got one of our kids to grab them which they did without noticing my reason. Yuck!

When we arrived at the orphanage, it was too early and our kids' friends were still at school. So we went to lunch and came back. We took lots of pictures. Finally we told our kids that it was time to say goodbye. Our kids especially miss their oldest friend. She showed them the ropes about life at the orphanage. They played games with her and teased her with games of keep-away. After our girls, the next child in age would be about 5+ years younger than her. They worry about how she is doing.

Then we headed to Mukono, the town that their grandmother lives in. Throughout Uganda we saw people walking between cars in traffic with buckets of fried grasshoppers. Our kids were always drooling over them. At a stop on the way to Mukono, a man went by the car with his bucket of grasshoppers for sale. The kids asked if they could take some to their Grandmother. I motioned to the guy that we would buy a little tin of them. Now let me say, at that point I had a splitting headache and felt pretty sick. I looked away, probably talking to one of the kids, and when I looked back, he had reached through the window to deliver my purchase. There, about 8 inches from my face, was an open tin of about 50 or so grasshoppers. I started furiously shaking my head "no" and making "mmmm-mm-mm-MMMM" noises. The poor guy was standing there looking so confused! He had a look on his face like "you crazy American, you just asked for these." I motioned for one of the kids to grab the tray and I think he figured it out at that point. Not trusting the kids not to dump them, he pulled his arm back, put a lid on the tray, and handed it back to one of the kids. 

We spent time together as one family. We all plopped down on the floor along side Grandmother's mattress on the floor. That white sheet looking thing is her mosquito net (critical to the defense of malaria) which was attached to the wall and rigged to make a tent  like structure at night. The kids showed us all around the house, the rabbit hutch, and the (outdoor) kitchen. There was one moment that took place that was especially important to me. I was interacting with Grandmother. She was particularly focused in on me. My theory is that in Uganda, having a mother is critical to your survival while having a father is less central to the family structure (due to so many Dads not being present). There was a moment when I was holding her hand and there was no one to translate. I didn't really think much before doing so, but I kissed her hand. I wanted to show her our love and respect. And I wanted to make a promise to her that we would take good care of her beloved little ones. That was the only way I could show her without words. And then she kissed my hand. It felt like a hand off, like she was saying "they're yours now, you have my blessing." And as quickly as it happened, it was over.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the tears reading that....:)


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