There’s something wonderful about returning to a place you’ve been before – a place that feels like home, where memories are made, where you can tangibly feel God’s presence, where friends quickly become family and where you never want to leave.
I arrived in Uganda late Wednesday evening after 25 hours of planes and layovers. For whatever reason, the dreaded journey back wasn’t nearly as bad as it has been in previous trips. I attribute the positive experience to the amount of sleep I was able to get in route.
I had to wait in line for a bit of time to officially receive my visa. Then, after collecting all 5 of our checked bags, along with our 4 carry-ons, Remmie and I stood in line to go through customs. It was at this point that we saw a sign which indicated that it was highly illegal to bring in medications, food supplements or medical devices. While we weren’t technically bringing in any of those things, we did have a few items which could be considered such – to say we were anxious would be an understatement. As our suitcases were examined, we prayed (and to be honest, sweat a bit). Praise God that each piece of our luggage was cleared without problem.
We met Remmie’s husband and one of the uncles outside the airport, who helped us to the car with our two towering carts full of luggage. It was quite literally a breath of fresh air to step into the warmth of the Ugandan night and see familiar faces.
We made the 30-minute journey through Entebbe and into the village where the Babies Home is located. Uncle Fred helped me with my bags into the guesthouse, where I’m staying for the duration of my visit. I’d like to say that it was nice to see the place again, but that was hard to do by only the light of our cell phones and an ongoing solar light issue.
My first few days in Uganda have been really nice and quite calm. I’m not sure I’ve ever been able to say those words – as most visits I hit the ground running with work to do. I’ve made my way into town to get WiFi and a cell phone. I’ve gone into the village to get food and things for the guesthouse. But most of all, I’ve been able to spend time with the children. In fact, each day I’ve been with the kids from shortly after they wake up until they head to bed.
The highlight of my week, of course, has been spending time with them. There are currently 19 kiddos at Purpose ages 1 to 5 years old. It’s been nice to reconnect with the kids I haven’t seen in 2 years and meet the new faces as well. From the time you wake up (and they catch sight of you through the guesthouse window), they’re calling for you to come outside and play. It’s no question that there will be a mad-rush of little ones the second you step outside; grabbing at your clothes, holding your hands and asking to be picked up.
My busyness will commence tomorrow as Remmie and I meet to discuss our schedule during my time here. I have a lengthy list of goals and things I’d like to accomplish and I’m sure she has the same. Things like providing a training for the preschool teachers prior to school resuming, helping to set up classrooms and clean the school, and marketing/advertising to bring in new students. We also have some non-school-related goals like working on the books we’re writing, training Sunday School teachers at a local church and spending intentional time with the children. It’s going to be a jampacked trip and the time will zoom by.
As I sit here and write this post, I can hear the noises of Uganda outside – motorcycles passing, birds making noises, and the children playing with other volunteers. The warm temperature and lightweight Ugandan dress I’m wearing has me easily forgetting that it’s January. I’m grateful for the opportunity to be here yet again. I’m thankful for the past 5 years of relationship-building here and I’m expectant for what I’m going to see God do during this time.
Here’s to kicking off 2019 in Uganda. It’s going to be a great year.