I’m Courtney, the wife. Dustin lets me guest post on his blog when I need to process things. I’m a counselor so I use words like “process.” In case it’s up for debate, I’m the emotional feeler of the relationship.
About this time in Uganda the radio would have been on and the radio host would have been repeatedly yelling, “IT’S FRIDAY UGANDAAAAA!!!!!” He would have yelled it before a song, after a song, and 20 times during a song. Oh, you mean you can’t tell what song is on the radio because I’m yelling at you about it being Friday? TIA.
I’m missing Africa today. I miss it every day but today my heart feels especially sad. This morning I wanted to wake up, crawl out of my mosquito net, go outside to use the hole in the ground bathroom, be greeted by crazy Mary and have her ask me in her creepiest voice, with her eyebrows moving up and down at a strange pace, “How were your dreams??” I wanted to sit outside, drink some tea, eat my banana, and listen to the radio. Tonight I wish I could come home, fill up a bucket of water to shower, eat some chapati and noodles with g-nut sauce, and sit around with Amos and William playing cards; and I want all of those activities taking place in the dark because the electricity has randomly gone out… again.
We’ve been home just about 2 weeks. 2 weeks is long enough to get over your jet lag, take your last malaria pill, put all your pictures up on facebook, find and remove a jigger, download “African Queen”, and talk about your trip with just about all of your friends. I’m finding that 2 weeks is also long enough to forget about taking cold showers out of a bucket, the fact that you were going to start appreciating electricity, the feel of babies snuggling in your arms, the fact the we have as much water as we could ever need at our access, and get back into the groove of things.
2 weeks is long enough to realize I’m having a hard time figuring out how to live here while having seen Africa.
This week was the first week of school. Last week I wanted to go buy 1 new back to school outfit. I went to Target and bought a new dress and a new pair of shoes for a grand total of $40. I got home and hung my dress up in my closet that is full and I put my new pair of shoes next to 15 other pairs of shoes. Then, secret confession, I sat down and cried in my closet. I wasn’t mad at myself for buying a new outfit. I only spent $40. I mean, come on, I could have gone to Nordstrom for goodness sake. (Disclaimer: I do not care if you shop at Nordstrom.) I just felt sad. My head was full of faces who only get 1 new pair of shoes every year and could never fill a closet full of their own clothes. I felt sad because there are people in this world who only get 1 new pair of shoes every year and for some reason I’m not one of them. I felt sad because they aren’t just people anymore, they’re my new sweet friends. They’re Vincent, Adolf, Sam, Margaret, Juliet, Ana, Ronald- the list could go on. A part of me felt sad because they’re my friends and I want them to be your friends too but the majority of you will never meet them. I want my friends in the states to hold fat, sweet baby Ana and snuggle with her. I want you to get pulled down a dirt hill on a paint tray sled by Vincent and Ronald. I want you to play tag with Adolf. I want you to hold Margaret and be scared every single time that she is going to pee on you. I want you to tickle Juliet until she can hardly breath from laughing so hard. I felt sad because I’m here, in Nashville, and I don’t feel like I can do anything about it, in Uganda.
Before we left for Uganda, I had given God a list of 5 things that I was willing to be passionate about after the trip. I hope that sentence sounds as ridiculous to you as it does to me as I write it. Those things were- adoption, HIV/aids, moving to a third world country, clean water, and Africa in general. Easy enough God, right? I prayed specifically that God would not call us to just be advocates in the states. God and I are kind of in a fight right now because I feel like he is calling us to do exactly that. Dustin and I both feel like God is saying stay here and share your stories. Stay here and share your passions. Stay here and challenge others. Stay here, but bring Africa with you. Don’t forget the people, what you saw, what you experienced, what you felt. Stay here but bring it all back with you.
2 weeks is long enough to know that we can’t make anybody fully understand Uganda. I know that unless you go there, you’ll have to wait to meet all of our friends in heaven. I know that it’s hard to care about a group of people you don’t know and issues that you’ve never seen. But I also know that God wants us to stay here and share our stories. So, share our stories we will and pray that God will use them in ways that we can’t.