It's not paradise, but our time here has been very good for us overall, and we are grateful for that. It's given us distance from so many stresses that used to be part of our daily life. No more people at the gate wanting this or that, no more medical crises, no more dreading weekends, no more soul-wrenching loneliness, no more undernourishment...and the list goes on. Instead, we have a lovely place to live here that affords us almost total privacy and anonymity, a place where Amber can homeschool the girls and I can do my linguistic work undisturbed, a place we can buy the foods we want, cook the way we want, and get adequate exercise, a place we can go to a racially diverse English-speaking church and a weekly home-group meeting less than a mile away, a place we can enjoy simple pleasures like Lebanese food, ice-cream, playgrounds, swimming pools, bookstores, internet access, school plays, and meetings with friends over lunch or coffee.
In this less-stressful environment, we are beginning to see more and more the physical, emotional, and psychological healing we need. Years of dreaded human interactions, years of exploitative relationships, years of mind-numbing humdrumness and soul-starving isolation, years of immersion in a world of mistrust and misunderstanding--have left their mark on us. Even in Kampala, we still feel very much like foreigners, strangers, people who can survive only by carving out a narrow niche in the seething possibilities of African city life, a life that still feels quite threatening to us at times. Our hearts very much desire a long period of rest and recuperation in our home country, but we are very thankful for this period in Kampala that seems like a valuable transition for us and the girls.
It's funny, we joke that the place we live in Kampala is as close to being in Timu as one can be in Kampala. And it's true: we live high on a narrow ridge, in a cluster of trees, with a magnificent view of the valley below. Only this valley is covered in brightly-colored buildings instead of woodland:
|the view from our front porch|
|views of the sun are comparable too|
For example, in late February, Amber got to go to Dubai with some friends to attend a Christian women's conference. For several days, she enjoyed being pampered by a care-team from America. This included counseling, prayer, make-overs, massages, etc. After the conference, she had a couple more days to shop in the city's amazing malls and dine in some of the many western restaurants. It's pretty amazing how the Emirates have built a modern city literally out of the sands of the deserts!
|enjoying fellowship with Christian women|
|at an aquarium|
|the journey took us across the equator|
|Mercy & Immaculate waiting for dinner|
|Marilyn and Ashley soaking in the 'bush vibe'|
|our family in safari spirit|
|Ashley and Amber taking coffee at a safari lodge|
|riding on top--look out for elephants!|
|the gorgeous Rwenzori mountains on the drive back to Kampala|
|Mercy & Macky in their Easter best|
|our girls having a blast in the pool|
|some pool antics from the 6 year old|
|birthday party shared with little Benja (on the left)|
|Lilly, Amber, and the girl cousins|
In the meantime, Amber is homeschooling the girls, trying to get them through kindergarten so they'll be ready for 1st grade in the fall. For someone who never wanted to be a teacher, she is doing a great job, and the results are evident in the girls' progress. While she stays busy with that, I am slaving away at an Ik-English dictionary that I hope to finish by the end of June. And so we plod through day after day, eager for the news we long for but determined to stay present where we are, not to miss the blessings and growth God has for us in this season of waiting.