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BACK TO THE BUSH: Last Days

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Saying goodbye to my loved ones and friend!

Saying goodbye to my loved ones and friend!

March 15, 2013

   After two days of high fever and malaria meds, my son seemed to be on the mend. Which I was grateful for because of the 13 hour rugged drive that was ahead of him! Sometimes we stayed overnight about half way, but not this time for my plane was to leave on the next day.

   Our troop arrived in the capital city around 7:30 pm at the mission house where we were to stay. The family that rode with us made their way to their rooms and we went to ours. My son did well driving that long distance even though he wasn’t feeling well. 

   The next morning dawned with its typical balmy weather and we set about eating some breakfast while going over plans for the day. We would do some souvenir shopping for my son wanted to add some things for his nieces and nephews to the bundle I was to take home for all the others. We also needed to do some shopping for my daughter in law to restock some of the supplies they were low on.

Our last selfie (for awhile)!

Our last selfie (for awhile)!

   This day was a celebration for me in that I had the luxury of time to spend with my son. We talked about all sorts of subjects–some light hearted, some very serious! With these moments we drew closer and added to our store of memories from which I have drawn on again and again since arriving back home.

   My son took me to this quaint little coffee shop for lunch. He had an blue cheese salad and I had an egg salad sandwich–very American tasting!  I remember our conversation as we enjoyed our food and fellowship and while it was serious mostly, I remember laughing a lot. My son always does that for me; mixing humor with the serious stuff. I came away from those conversations feeling hopeful and not so overwhelmed.

   Our dinner plans were to drive to the city near the airport where colleagues of my son lived. It’s always amazing to me how you can feel so close to people you have only met for a very few times. But then I’ve noticed that’s the way it goes with God’s people! Dinner was delicious and reminded me of meals back home. Our fellowship was rich and sweet but all too soon it came time for me to get ready to go to the airport.

My last hug and snuggle!

My last hug and snuggle!

 

   I dreaded this departure and had prayed for the emotional strength I would need to say good bye to my son. God had given me that strength when I said goodbye to my daughter in law and grandson and that was what I drew from as we parked the truck and walked up to the airport.

   Yes, my heart was heavy, but I couldn’t stop time, so I submitted to God’s will and strength to see me through our goodbye’s! I kept it under control thanks to God’s grace and glancing back for as long as I could, I turned around and walked through security.

One more adventure and then I would be home!

The Mission begins!

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It’s Jan. 15th and we are preparing to put my husband on the plane to return to the States.  My son and I took him to the airport and we were able to watch him through the big glass windows that make up the outside walls of the terminal.  I watched him carefully as he checked in his bags and proceeded to the check in area for his ticket.  (this was only allowed because of the glass walls, for my son and I were not allowed to go inside the terminal)

Why was I watching him so carefully, you may ask?  Because in about 7 weeks, I would be doing the same thing,

ALL BY MYSELF!

I emphasize, all by myself, because I do not like traveling alone.  But the only way I could stay as long as was planned, was to return home by myself.   I’m telling you, I was not looking forward to that experience, in fact, I was dreading it.

The next few days was spent in the capital city area, preparing for the trip to where my son and his team members live.  I felt sort of like a 5th wheel without my husband.  (Actually, I felt like this the whole time I was there).  It was especially hard during those ‘hanging out’ times.  (Usually during such times you tend to gravitate towards those who are family or peers)  Sure, I had family and friends there, but no peers.  Taking care of and spending time with my grandson was a huge blessing.  It was good when I was able to spend time with my son, but that wasn’t practical much of the time.  He had a life and a family that trumped hanging out with mom, and I understood that.  Fortunately, over the past few years, God has been teaching me how to enjoy solitary time and for the most part this training proved to be very beneficial  to ward off those moments when I was tempted with loneliness.

The next few days was spent preparing for the 2 day journey to my son’s residence.   During that time two more families that would be serving on the team with my son arrived from America.  A young German couple joined us and with the addition of one more family from America, we finalized our preparations.

A lot of packing and restocking has to be done before we can load up and head back to home base.  You see, they can’t just make a run to the grocery store when they run out of groceries for that would be a 13 hour drive (longer during rainy season).  Due to the nightmarish roads, that 13 hour trip is usually extended into a 2 day trip.  So while in the capital city, my daughter-in-law buys everything she feels they will need over a 6 week period or for ever how long it will be before their next trip.  I am very impressed with my daughter-in-law’s organization skills.  She has created a spreadsheet of the items needed to stock their home then before heading out for the capital city, she’ll go through her shelves to see what they have and what they are low on.  The small town they live near fortunately has a market and many fruits and vegetables can be bought there.  She has become a skilled communicator at the market, confidently communicating what her needs are and negotiating a fair price for them.

These days were somewhat a little insecure for me.  My exact duties were as yet to be determined.  I’m one who feels insecure when things are vague (yes, I do acknowledge that for others this is when their creative juices begin to flow).  Alas, that was not the case for me.  But my life was saved (I know that sounds over dramatic but it was what it was) when I found out that arrangements had been made (rather suddenly) for a teacher friend of my son and daughter-in-law’s to come from America and yoke up with me in teaching the trainees children.

A few days after her arrival, the caravan set out and dodging, as best we could, the humongous potholes, stray ostriches, cattle & goats trying to share our road space, curious onlookers, (white people are an oddity in this land) not to mention daredevil chickens, we bumped along to our destination.

This is when I begin to notice a decided shift in definitions.  A gravel road, newly graded was exclaimed to be ‘smooth’.  I use the word ‘exclaimed’ for you should have heard the excitement in the voices of those who had traveled this road prior to the present grading.  (This never did register with me for in order to experience smooth according to this new definition I would have to forget my good ole American roads, even the ones in Arkansas, and they were too fresh on my mind for that transformation.)  I have one word to describe most of the roads I traveled while in Africa–nightmarish!  And that’s not an exaggeration!

Adios for now amigos!  (Until next post, that is!)

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