“You’ve arrived”… great phrase, but today I didn’t need a sign to know it. We’re here. Our room is set up, dinner eaten, some worship songs sung, accompanied by the Captain overlooking the Nile, a shower, a tour of the grounds of the hotel and one of the longest van rides I can remember. 12 people in little more than a Volkswagen sized van, with about 500 lbs of luggage, some tied to the top, and more traffic than I have endured in a LONG time. I think it was about 5 ½ hours, Entebbe to Jinja, and the poor captain sat next to me in a seat that had no back except the suitcases shifting forward with each bump in the road. We were thanking God it was a cool 75 or so degrees and overcast. Never want to see the inside of that van again, except that it is our source of transportation for at least a week and it will take us into the village where a “family reunion” will take place every day even if we’ve never met.
Clearly the sleeping pill I took on the plane worked well. I woke up after about 4 hours to a soaking wet seat and white pants that were now transparent with the drenching. An open water bottle that was served with dinner lay sideways on my lap completely empty. You can image my gratitude and relief when I realized something had been spilled rather than the alternate possibility that was running through my head. I don’t know exactly what happened; could have been a prank by Dann or Kristen, could have been the practical-joke playing team sitting next to us on the plane, or that bottle could have fallen in my lap mid way to my thirsty mouth when the medication kicked in. Regardless, I soaked myself and never even so much as felt cold.
On that note, don’t tell anyone, but my poor focus arrived in Entebbe right along with 97% of our bags. I’m the type who should always have a bathroom buddy along. Always. Once again the US’s relationship with other countries has been tested by a 50 something white lady waltzing into the first MEN’s restroom we saw in Uganda at the arrival gate at the airport. What is with me? If anyone asks, I never need to see another urinal again in my life, never, just not necessary, no. Thankfully that visual had me turning tail to the correct door and the team gave me a refresher class on the signage.
Our greeters along the way.
Our greeters along the way.
We missed one bag on the carousel when we picked up our luggage, and didn’t realize it until mid afternoon at the hotel. It’s for the Compassion kids and we had to get it. I am so grateful the hotel desk clerk knew just how arrange it and it did not involve us getting back in the van right away.
Everyone was exhausted. They ate napped and showered. We wandered the paths of the area around the hotel and were able to meet the staff and a family living right behind the hotel in an unfinished brick building, no roof 8 children.
Tomorrow, the Plums that are here meet a squad of kids we call “our own.” It’s our compromise between the Captain’s brilliant strategy that we always have food and shelter and my longing for more little ones to love. So, the Compassion kids are coming here tomorrow to the hotel and we will be meeting these precious little ones, having a swim party in the hotel pool and visiting. We have a small backpack with toys and necessities for each one and some rice and beans for the family and I can hardly stand the excitement. They have just this evening been told we are in the country, Compassion protects them in case there is a change of plans and a sponsor cannot make the visit, waiting until the last minute to tell them. But tomorrow...just hours from now, we'll be celebrating what God has brought together through Compassion.