Frustrating to Fantastic

October 15, 2008 at 1:44 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Frustrating to Fantastic…

Oct. 14th, 2008

I started the day in Kampala with an U.S. Embassy visit (it was closed yesterday for Columbus Day). Got there early even, went to the front of the line as a U.S. Citizen, saw the man I was to see through the glass. When my turn came, I went into the cubicle with thick glass separating the Embassy representative and me. When she asked what I wanted, I told her who I was looking for and she said he was called out to a meeting and would I like to talk to his assistant. Sure, should be fairly straightforward. When she came and I started asking questions, she was honest to say that she wasn’t going to be much help answering them and that I could wait just a half an hour till he returned. Sure, 30 minutes wouldn’t hurt. I exited the cubicle and explained what the situation was to the man I will refer to as the “gate keeper”. He suggested I wait outside under the awning so I could catch the cool breeze. Sure, I like cool breezes. After about 45 minutes outside, an American couple walked up (holding a baby) and asking to see the same guy I was looking for…hmmmm, but they had to wait outside too. I could wait a little longer…then in about 15 minutes he called them, I walked up to him before they got there and made sure he knew the situation: I was here first, I was told to wait till the man returned from a 30 minute meeting, etc. and he said it would be fine. SURE, fine until that couple walked out having seen the guy I was waiting on (I asked them). The “gate keeper” and I had a discussion to “clarify” what was to happen next. He said that the man wasn’t back yet, and I let him know that the previous couple had JUST SEEN HIM. Knowing there are about 2 more visits to that very same office and not wanting to burn any bridges, I exercised some self control, sat down at the front of the line again (those people were real happy to see me) and watched as the guy I was to see waited on another guy who had come after me (he was already in the cubicle)…took him forever. Finally, I get to go in and talk to “the man” who was very helpful and probably save me a lot of later frustration. SO, at 11 AM, I was off to Jinja to see my boys at Amani.

That time was fantastic, quickly checked in at my Inn (right across the street) and went over to find all the kids napping. I showed the 2 Ugandans (Eddie and David) who drove me here the orphanage and pointed out my napping boys then they left back for Kampala and I went to get a quick bite to eat at the Inn. Then it was back to Amani to greet some of the staff and see the boys! Phillip is quiet and warms up to you. I had a kid-friendly picture book of our family that Lisa had made which include a family picture at Amani with all SEVEN of my kids when we worked at Amani after Passion Kampala. Phillip loved it, practiced the names, loved seeing his picture and clung tightly to the picture book even while we played soccer. I took a brief break from Phillip and went to visit Zachery with his picture book. He is a pretty happy kid overall and doesn’t miss many meals as evidenced by what looks like the world’s smallest beer belly. Feeling like it was critical to spend time connecting with Phillip, I went back to him and he sat in my lap mostly silent for about an hour, occasionally saying “motor car” or looking at the picture book. It seemed like he genuinely enjoyed me holding him. I talked to him about “football” and how he would be a great striker and we talked about striking technique a bit.

I put him on my shoulders and we spent the next 45 minutes to an hour trying trick shots with the soccer ball (Millipede alert!!!…. While I am typing this one of those long, black, African millipedes is making it’s way across my floor…don’t tell my wife! On closer inspection, it has an orange head and a yellow tail.) Back to Phillip, I had to set him down and go visit Zachery who was eating dinner. Phillip had nothing but a long, silent stare…makes me wonder what thoughts are behind those deep brown eyes. After assuring him that I would be back, I ventured into Zachery’s room where he was enjoying something that looked white and reddish-purple like what would happen if you mixed rice and beets. It was rice and a green vegetable called “booga” (unless Junior was pulling my leg). I saw them serve it, it was no kidding green out of the pot and within a couple of minutes, it had stained the rice reddish-purple. Anyway, they all loved it. After talking to him a bit, I went to catch Phillip’s group eating. He was still very quiet. Everyone knows that I am “Phillip’s daddy” and that he is going to America. I’m not sure what Phillip thinks of that yet (as much as he can comprehend)…is he OK with this new adventure or is he petrified? How will he react to our morning ride into Kampala on Thursday?

I went back to help get Zachery ready for bed and played with him a bit before I prayed for him, kissed him, and put him in bed (for the record, he cried when I left). Then back to help Phillip get dressed for bed. I found out which bunk was his (he has a lower bunk) and put my head down next to his and talked to him a bit…until all the other boys wanted in on the party. So I told them if they all quickly got ready for bed and got in their bunks I would tell them a story. They complied and then I asked for a volunteer (because this story requires audience participation). I chose one of the eager volunteers and began to tell the story of Jonah and the Whale “Harding” style. “Harding” style is where the child gets to be Jonah and I am the special effects (voice of God, ship in a storm, sailors, and of course “the belly of the fish” where Jonah prayed and prayed and prayed. I’m not sure what the volunteer thought when the fish spit Jonah (“Ptuey”) on to the land (bed), but it normally gets a giggle after many repetitions. Then I prayed for the boys and called it a night after saying a special good night to Phillip.

I went back to the Inn for dinner and now in my room (I don’t even report on Gecko’s or even spiders unless their bigger than a 50 cent piece). Lisa asked me on the phone about my “feelings”. Not much of a talker about my feelings; sometimes they pop out in tears or a grin or some other physical manifestation, but talking about them…well. Let’s just say in the realm of feelings, I think there are 3 easy and useful classifications: Good, Fine, and Bad. I am definitely in the “Good” range…can’t wait to get them home, start the patient task of drawing Phillip out, loving the daylights out of them both and learning some new things that our great God has in store. I love my sons, Joseph, Phillip, and Zachery.


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