We are presently driving through the countryside north of Kampala on the way to Gulu. This marks the beginning of the second chapter of our time in Africa and so I am reflecting on that chapter #1 that we just left behind. We flew into Entebbe on Friday morning about 1:30 am (2 hours late) unfortunately for our dear friend Tom who was waiting there to pick us up. What a wonderful surprise to walk towards the exit of the airport and as we are looking at all of the many small white signs being held by so many Ugandan men and across the way walks our Mazungoo (White) friend Tom from Yreka. What a happy sight!

We didn’t see anything during that dark drive to the guest house in Kampala which would be our home sweet home for the next few days. And sweet it was! The first morning we met two ladies (mother and mother-in-law) from “the south” with their darling accents and even more darling twin girls that they were adopting. We also met a very nice women who’s home is in northern Uganda. She was staying just a night or two to pick up her teenage daughters who were in boarding school. We sat together and had a very nice breakfast. They made us feel so comfortable and welcome. Later that morning we checked in with our friends on the other side of the guest house and also met a young women who was there adopting a little boy and wow! was he ever a darling thing.

So the first leg of our trip was pretty much focused around the trials and termoils and joys of international adoption in Uganda. We really enjoyed our visits with the moms and enjoyed watching the children as they adjusted to their new moms and new foods and new friends and the guest house dog, Roxy, who pretty much terrified every kid their first day (the dog is sweet as can be, but dogs seem to be a scary thing to Ugandan children. Our favorite little girl is our friends’ daughter, Gladys, whose energy bubbles over and over and over. She is about 7 and her body just does not stop moving and the more she can make her body move even within the confines of a simple task like going to the table for seconds on breakfast, the better! Her little booty shakes and her head bobs and then she turns and gives you a spry smile with the hope of getting one back and then she giggles! She is so African and so beautiful and simply infectious. Then there are the little ones. It is just hard to find the words to describe the joy they can bring to a room. They don’t say very much, not very much at all, but all the same, when they get to playing they can be so noisy – mostly squeeling and giggling.

But aside from the simple joy of parenting these beautiful children there is the drama of going through the adoption process. It is rife with anticipation and disappointment and elation at the simplest task being accomplished. So the day we left almost all of the parents were on the cusp of important tasks needing to be completed in order for them to be able to return home. Our friend put it very well as he explained that once the Ugandan government gives the adoptive parents legal guardianship of a child the parents have basically put all their chips on the table, because there is no turning back after that point and if there is a delay in recieving the proper documents that allow you to leave the country, you are stuck. You can’t go home and you must stay with your Ugandan child until it can be worked out. The scenario can mean adoptive parents are stuck in Uganda away from their family in the US for an undertermined amount of time. Consider the hardship and expense this can cause. We saw this happen to one family during our stay.

One day the heartbreak of difficult news was just too much and it was decided that a fun outing was needed to get their minds off the “adoption process” and just have a little fun with the kids. So a few of us piled into a van and went to the Entebbe Zoo. It was a super fun day. It wouldn’t have been an activity that Guy and I would have chosen on our own, but it was a kick to tag along and see a little microcosm of African wildlife. We all took turns holding the little one, who is just a little to big for one person to hold for a long time and little too small to walk on his own. We all really enjoyed the monkeys playing at the children’s playground, but I was most shocked by the camels gnawing grass near the shore of Lake Victoria. We stopped and had stone fired pizza on the way home and enjoyed the company very much.

Then it was Sunday and we went to Calvary Chapel Kampala which sits right in the middle of downtown Kampala – right where a church should be. We enjoyed church and enjoyed a restful day at the guest house even more. We had an amazing lunch, prepared by Harriet, who is a fantastic cook and takes care of us for every meal. It has been a real blessing not to have to worry about preparing food, especially for those first few days in Africa. Dealing with the jet lag is about all you want to be bothered with. It was such a refreshing day and a wonderful end as we gathered together to talk about the Lord and pray for each other. And that puts us here – adoptive families anxiously awaiting news and Guy and I driving through this beautiful landscape excited to meet our friends in Gulu. I have to say that I think I love this place.