Wednesday, December 19, 2007
One of the reasons we went to the IDP camp in Gulu was to find a child to bring back to St. Mary Kevin’s. We had discussed this with a couple of the elders shortly after our arrival and got the feeling our request would be granted. I noticed that while we guests were seated in our wooden chairs in front of the rest of the group, on the mat where the older women sat soon appeared a young girl. It seemed to me that she had now assumed a position of some prominence and that perhaps she would be the one to accompany us back to Kajjansi.
As we prepared to leave, Jonathan felt it best to tell the Camp Leader of our desire. The Camp Leader bared his teeth (what few there were) and in broken English explained that one of his daughters was hard for him to control, and that she should be the one we take to St. Mary Kevin’s. We gently reminded him that we wanted to take a child who had been orphaned. He then said, no, we hadn’t given them enough time to work on this and that we would have to come back and get a child on another day.
Everyone swarmed the van as we said our goodbyes. Lillian and Sandee’s mother walked out of the middle of the crowd with a huge bag of beans on her head and tried to transfer them to the head of Rose Mary. I got the feeling Rose Mary had never attempted to carry anything on the top of her head. The weight of it nearly brought her to her knees; she laughed, and then we all did. The bag of beans, an extremely generous gift given the situation, was thrown into the back of the van.
We decided to treat Rose Mary and ourselves to a plane ride back to Entebbe, incredible and unheard of as that seems for this white-knuckled flier. Anything to avoid the bumpy, weavy, hot, long ride in the van. (Turns out Jonathan had two flat tires on his way back. I know Carol would have been laughing her head off, but hey, after awhile the novelty wears off!)
We climbed into a 19-seater prop plane (surely, it must have been built in the 50’s or 60’s, but then, my imagination when it comes to anything air-travel related is pretty wild.)
During an especially bad stretch of turbulence, I looked over toward Carol for an “everything will be OK, Gloria” nod, and out of the corner of my eye I see Rose Mary crossing herself. Oh, man.
I did manage to uncover my eyes long enough to catch a glimpse of the Nile as we flew over it.
We arrived in Kampala in time to have dinner with the rest of the team. Digesting that was pretty easy. Digesting what we had seen in Gulu will take a much longer time.
Sandee and Lillian