So yesterday Craig woke up not feeling well at all. He decided to stay in bed as much as possible and fight off the fever and flu symptoms that were coming on. (Don’t worry – it’s not malaria, we already checked) Alexa and I got the kids ready for the day and we skyped with my parents (and then today with Craig’s family) – so fun to be on THIS side of the world looking at them in their cozy home. Very surreal (definitely a theme of our trip so far).
Wrestling under the "tents"
THEN… I climbed into the van and zoomed over to our sweet Abi-girl. Tricia had her all ready to go and when I walked in the door, Abi lit up with a smile that could substitute for the sun. A warm rush surged through my body; this is my baby and she knows me!
We got buckled into the van and just stared at each other for the 8 minute drive back to our house. The kids were outside jumping up and down on the porch anticipating her arrival. “Abi-sista HOME!” Maela was shouting. We came inside, it was seriously similar to that moment you arrive home from the hospital with your new little bundle of joy! My heart was jumping out of my chest with happiness (but still wishing Craig were up to see it all).
The kids took turns holding her and she greeted them as if she’d missed them too. We laid several layers of blankets on the hard floor to spend some tummy time together and even changed her clothes into one of the sweet outfits we had brought for her. It was heavenly!
Just to give you an idea of what the land looks like - so tropical and lush. It's just beautiful!
An electrician, Edison came over to work on the small hot water heater attached to the shower head because, as I discovered much to my dismay, if you touch any part of the metal faucet or handles while the heater is on you will get quite a shock! We exchanged some friendly words (Edison teaches language to the missionaries and their children) and then Alexa led him to the electric shower head. I heard Craig get up to talk with him for a minute and then he came out to grab a stool for Edison. I could tell he still wasn’t feeling well. I heard Craig say to Edison upon delivering the stool, “I’m sorry, I’m sick and I…”
“Help! Help!” Edison cried from the bathroom. I looked up from our blanket in the living room and saw Noah staring in disbelief down the short hall to the bathroom. I jumped up and quickly handed Abi to Alexa. I turned and saw my husband’s feet from behind the mostly closed door. The warm feelings Abi had sent through me were instantly replaced with chills. Craig had passed out and was laying face down with his head in the corner between the wall and the door. It was terrifying…
Family riding a BodaBoda - motorcycle taxi - common way of transportation here
Noah ran to the other bedroom in tears…this is the first time he has ever seen his big, strong father incapacitated and it must have been very frightening for him. Maela saw her chance for freedom and darted for the door (fortunately our heavily fenced compound ensured that she wouldn’t get far .) Alexa raced back and forth the between the two, consoling Noah and checking on Maela, Abi in arms the whole time. I seriously can’t imagine all this without her here!
A began shaking Craig and yelling his name. It was the longest 30 seconds of my life. When he finally came to he had no idea what had happened and as I helped him roll over blood streamed from his lip. He had hit the door (or the wall) with his face and his lip was split badly. He had scratches on the sides of his head and he was a deathly white and very confused. I yelled for Alexa to bring me the phone. My hands shook as I dialed our friend down the street; it felt like it took me forever to find the numbers on that tiny screen.
While we are still on the floor, Alice, our lawyer’s assistant called. Of course! Craig and I both managed to smile at the irony of it all – we had been waiting for this call for 2 days and here it comes just moments after he regained consciousness on the bathroom floor! However it wasn’t the news we had been hoping for. We still didn’t have a confirmed court date but one of the lawyers in the firm was heading to Mbarara from Kampala tomorrow (Wednesday) to meet with us and pick up our paperwork and the kids passport and Visa photos. We told her that we didn’t have Nicholas home with us yet (the Sister currently running the home is not the one we have built a relationship with over the last 10 months and she was not willing to let us take Nicholas until we have a court date.) Alice was disappointed with this news (we are too!) and said she would have our lawyer call and see if she could persuade her….Please pray for Sister Edvina for her to release Niko to us!
Ugandan woman carrying her goods to sell
After his color returned a little, Craig managed to get up and we slowly walked to the bedroom so he could lay down. After some water and a few minutes of resting and reassuring Noah that Daddy was ok, a missionary doctor we had dinner with a few nights ago arrived to check on Craig (another demonstration of God’s foreknowledge and providence for our family!). A house-call! So cool! He checked Craig’s lip, talked through all his symptoms and made sure he was stabilized. Just the flu and dehydration. So Craig spent most of the day in bed, resting, and we all prayed he would kick this thing in 24 hours. I took Abi into the room, keeping a safe distance of course, and when they locked eyes she yelled several times, “DaDa!” No joke! We both burst out laughing, with a few tears of joy mixed in…she knows her Daddy. God has done an incredible work in this little heart and we are in awe!
Trying to hang another mosquito net. What you can't see is the dresser he is standing on is really on top of Alexa's bed! Days before the "fall" too...
I refilled my arms with Abi, made her a bottle, and spent the next 4 hours with her tucked close against my chest, with the occasional shared turn for Noah and Mae of course. I watched her sleep, memorized the curves of her cute little nose, stroked that tight ringlet hair. I love this baby girl!
Eventually it was time to take her back to Tricia. Maela joined me for the ride and they cooed at one another form their carseats. I carried her in the house and when I placed her back in her loving “NaNa’s” arms, she kept her eyes locked on me. Melting….
Yup...that's how they sell it here.
We swung back by our house to pick up my bag and Alexa and headed to town. We waited in line at the ATM for nearly 40 minutes. Appearantly there is only one person allowed at a time in the tiny room that holds the cash kiosk. We could not figure out what each person did in there, but it took an strangely long time to withdraw money.
When we finally had our cash, we asked Meburu, our driver, to take us to the market so we could buy some fruit. It was beautiful – an edible rainbow so much to take in. We had so much fun!!! He promised to get us African prices, not Muzungu (white person) prices. We could tell he was enjoying himself too as he skipped between stalls and picked the choicest mangoes, pineapples, watermelons, jack fruit, bananas, and eggs for us. He shared the best way to prepare each one and introduced us to several new vegetables too. Poor Maela was a star attraction – the Ugandan women could not get enough of her, wanting to hold her, play with her blond curls and tickle her tummy. She took it very well and occasionally would let one hold her for a moment before saying “MaMa” and careening her body back towards me or Alexa. She had been painting earlier that day and her cheeks bore the remnant of a few stray strokes of her paintbrush. Several women asked me what it was and as I motioned with my hand to paint a wall and said, “paint” then demonstrated the strokes that marked her check. They roared with laughter and spread the news down several stalls. It was fun to make them laugh.
We walked down the street a ways and bought large bag of popcorn (the kids were going through withdrawls) and then wandered to a few small grill-type cooking stations where a specific type of banana (which I can’t remember right now) and cassava where being cooked, charred rather, along with chapatti, corn on the cob and several other Ugandan staples. Meburi bought us a banana and a few cassava to try. They were both delicious but we couldn’t believe he was able to hold on to them and break off pieces with his lips since ours were searing our laps through our pants. Alexa and I talked about how healthy it all feels and we love wandering through the market. She said she thinks she could live like this for a while...warning, Michelle. :) The whole experience was definitely a highlight of the trip so far! (Aside from meeting our kids of course.)
We are going back again soon and Meburu said we can bring our cameras this time and he will ask if we can take pictures. Promise to share with you!
Oh yes and we have been catching geckos, espcially the ones in the toilets!
Please pray for health protection for the whole family! We know the Lord is faithful to provide and protect and we are trusting Him for all things...being here makes it so evident just how little control we actually have and how much He truly is! It's wonderful!!!