Well, we are home from Uganda!
This trip that we had been planning for the last 2 years has come to a close and we are now back in our comfortable lives, getting back to some sort of normality….. If there is such a thing!
We had the most incredible time and we are forever changed, but, to be honest, the first few days were super hard for me!
We arrived at the Airport, met by lots of Military Men all carrying the largest guns you have ever seen in your life. I did wonder for a moment if they were real or not, but didn’t actually want to find out first hand, so kept my head down and tried not to draw any attention to the 4 whities whose eyes were bulging out of their heads at the different world they had entered!
As our plane arrived at our final destination on to red dirt, I did begin to wonder what I had gotten myself into! Long gone was the internet, McDonalds, hot showers and all the other comforts of home that we so take for granted.
We were met by some locals and driven through town to our accommodation. Now when I say town, you are probably imagining shops, sealed roads, cars and pedestrians…...yeah, not quite!
Yes, there were shops, but not as we know them. They were more like small tin sheds all lined up along the road, some of them lucky enough to have a door and windows. Yes, there were roads, but they were again red dirt and there were literally thousands of people everywhere! There was 1 car to 100 bicycles and women walking down the road carrying 20 kilo’s on their heads and babies on their backs! Not to mention the slight colour difference of the locals, this was definitely not life as we knew it!
Once we had arrived at the Base we were generously given dinner, I had no idea what I was eating and to this day I am still unsure of what it was….. which I think is probably a good thing!
As I lay under my mosquito net that night, listening to the bats outside, the monkeys running all over the roof, I shuddered every time I heard the gecko’s and crawly things in my room, and it was so pitch black (of course, there were no street lights, what was I thinking!) I couldn’t even see my hand in front of my face. I lay there, hyperventilating, almost in a blind panic (well, I pretty much was blind!) and saying to God, “God, I think you have picked the wrong girl, I don’t think I can do this!”
I knew this trip was going to take me out of my comfort zone, but I didn’t realize it was going to take me this far from it, this quickly!
2 years in the making and I was planning my quick escape! I hadn’t even unpacked my bags (just in case crawly things crawled inside!) so I was ready for a quick getaway! We all make mistakes and maybe this was one of mine, thinking that I could last 2 weeks in Africa. Ok, so it was a biggie, its a lot of money to fly to Uganda for one night, but hey, I could at least say I have been!
God must have been having a wee giggle to himself and when I woke in the morning, I had a new perspective on things. Yes, there was still wildlife all around me, yes we still had no hot water, yes, we were still eating things we didn’t have a clue what they were, but it’s amazing how a good night’s sleep and some prayer can get things into perspective. This trip wasn’t all about the food and the crawly things, in fact, this trip actually wasn’t even all about me!
I got up, ran myself through the shower (again, not like the showers we know and love!) and gave myself a pep talk as I threw cold water over myself. “C’mon Kathy, get over yourself, this trip isn’t about you and your fear of crawly things. This trip is so much bigger than that! Don’t miss what God has for you cause you are afraid of gigantic spiders and scorpions! You can do this. Yes, you, the white girl from NZ who is so used to your creature comforts, you CAN do this!”
God had a bigger plan for why we were there and he wasn’t going to let my wee panic attack stop us from experiencing all He had in store for us.
I was about to find out just how impacting this trip was really going to be……