Final Thoughts

Well, we made it to the airport. We are no longer the center of attention, our bikes and bags are checked all the way to Vancouver, we said sad goodbyes to our friends who now feel like family and hopefully we have good movies to watch on these long flights. Man, our arrival to Uganda on June 4th feels like a lifetime ago. I keep having flashes of scenes in my mind of time both on and off the bikes, faces I remember, places we’ve slept and yet I have no idea when they happened, where I was or any details of the days. Most of the time in Uganda I didn’t even know what day it was. How nice and weird is that?! I’m glad we have this blog to review over time to remind us of our time here.

Vincent, Jacob and Vincent’s mother, Jan, picked us up at the hotel around 11:30. Just before, I couldn’t resist getting my one last chipati for the road. I will miss those. We crammed the bikes and all the bags into the back of the van, taking up the two rear seats completely. Jacob insisted that John take the front seat and sat with his big legs crammed up behind the passenger seat without complaint. As we made the trek to Kampala to pick up Jacob’s family to come with us the rest of the way, he was telling Vincent some kind of story in Luganda that was getting a crazy reaction from Vincent, so of course, they had to fill us in. It turns out that on Saturday, while Jacob was doing work to prepare for the final celebration, he came upon an old woman who had bound a child’s hands and feet together with rope and was making him sit at the cooking pot and help her. He could see that the poor child’s circulation was being cut off and watched her hit the little guy (about six years old) with a big stick. Well, I hope you have sensed Jacob’s heart for children by now and seen his size. He was having none of this and intervened on the child’s behalf. He swooped in and grabbed the child and slung him over his shoulder as the old woman grabbed her stick and tried to hit him with it! Like in the movies, he grabbed the stick in mid-air and stopped her cold. So she did what only a desperate woman could do… she BIT him on the arm! What?! He showed us the huge bite mark that was all puckered and will definitely leave a scar. There is a picture below (and a video) of him showing his wife and daughter which John forced him to do because Jacob didn’t even tell Vincent about it until days later and we wanted to make sure she knew. He took the child and carried him to his nearest relative as the woman turned out to be the child’s grandma. He and Vincent were laughing and Jacob was acting it out, the whole situation seeming like no big deal. But both Vincent and we told him that a human bite can be very serious and spread disease so he plans to go get tested for anything unexpected, and also for HIV. How sad and somewhat unbelievable picture of life here – on all counts. The child’s predicament. The woman’s reaction. The possible result. We told him to keep us posted on his diagnosis.

On the way Vincent also got a distressed phone call from his daughter, Jane, who was one of the main dancers yesterday. She had made quite a few tips with her dancing (as this practice was described in our last post) and I guess someone at school just couldn’t resist and stole the entire ‘purse’ from her. Poor thing. Because we hadn’t brought any money to the party and so couldn’t give tips, we gave Vincent a few thousand shillings to replace some of what she’d lost (the equivalent of about 80 cents). Her dancing was worth much more, of course, but we were running out of shillings and wanted to still pay for lunch.

We went to see Jabob’s house, meet his lovely wife of twenty-three years and one of his children, a delightful, intelligent, talented and outgoing eighteen-year-old named Victoria. He and Florence got married when Jacob was seventeen and she was only fourteen. We hadn’t met anyone up to this point who had been married for that long to the same person. He was very honouring to her and kept telling us how hard she works and how much he appreciated that she lets him go away from home to build houses for people who don’t have one, serve the church by leading their music program and be Vincent’s right hand man and heavy lifter. We sat on the couch in their ‘living room’, one of two rooms in their brick and mud house. There was a three-tiered bunk bed also in the room along with all their kitchen wares, thermoses and pots. A ratty sheet hung over the bottom bunk as Vicky’s only privacy. You can see a picture below of me, his wife and daughter standing in the room that serves as the living room, kitchen and bedroom. He kept telling us how blessed he is and how thankful he was that we came to his house. Vicky sang us a couple songs and I could see that she loved to sing and share her beautiful voice.

So then all seven of us crammed into the one seat in the van to go to Entebbe where the airport is. What a difficult joy it was to just immerse myself in these last moments in Uganda and live like they do on a daily basis. No personal space? No problem. No one else seemed bothered by the close quarters so I just rested in that and tried to ignore the sweat running down my back and our legs all sticking together in clammy warmth.

We wanted to take them out to a pizza place on the beaches of Lake Victoria, somewhere we knew they would never go. I was wearing a tank top and John, shorts and a T-shirt. The breeze felt wonderful after being in the hot van. But Vincent, his mom and Vicky were so cold that they went to get jackets and coverups they had left in the van. We laughed at the difference between us. The pizza was so awesome, but most of them had never had pizza before and Vincent didn’t even know what it was. Vicky on the other hand, like all other teens I know, loved pizza and played a game on my phone the entire time. John had Vincent almost convinced to give it a try, but then he bailed out and they all stuck to familiar food: pork with rice, fish with rice, and chicken with chips (aka fries). Mama Jan must have thought her rice needed some sauce because she added a ton of ketchup, not really knowing what it was. The process of ordering was hilarious as they joked with the waiter about the unfamiliar things on the menu. They laughed out a story where Nelson (not with us only because there was not enough room in the van) went out with some North Americans and didn’t know a single thing on the menu so he just randomly pointed at something and ended up with a small mound of sweet potatoes while everyone else enjoyed their full meals. They thought that was hilarious.

After lunch, while everyone was just visiting, Vicky asked me to go for a walk with her so we slipped out and slowly strolled up the road. She has been the only person who has asked me about myself, my hobbies, my children, and deeper questions of what the trip was like. Her English was really good and she hopes to become a surgeon someday. Right now she can’t even afford a small phone to replace the one her brother dropped and broke when he was playing a game on it. I know she and I will get to spend more time together when I come back. She has great potential and deep desire, but like most people, the lack of resources seems too much to overcome for her to achieve her dreams.

It was a bit of a fiasco getting the bags and bikes out of the van and into the airport. Everyone wanted to help and bags were falling off the carts and into the road. They wanted pictures of themselves pushing all the stuff and honestly, we just wanted to get checked in so we didn’t get stuck in middle seats on the plane. The goodbyes were hard, but that’s a good thing. The ties are tight and this project and future plans have bound our hearts together over the long distance that separates us. It’s hard to leave knowing what they all have to go back to, but these men and their families have critical roles within their communities and we are overwhelmed with pride in them and thankfulness for what they have done and continue to do.

So now we start our thirty-hour journey to Vancouver where John’s parents will pick us up and keep us for the night. We can’t wait to see Hannah the next day, see her new place and get some strength from our girl. Then we head home to see Dylan who has killed it this summer caring for our place and earning man points. Wow, I miss them.

Thank you all so much for coming along on this crazy ride with us, for sending kind and encouraging emails and messages, for praying, for giving. All of your contributions have been noticed and deeply appreciated both by us and the students. Even the frisbees, given from the students from the Christian school in Nelson, were huge tokens of love and they had to be given out carefully to avoid the chaos and hurt that can come from wanting something so badly and leaving empty-handed. We hope you have all felt that this was your trip too. In truth, we couldn’t have done it without you.

Your generosity has made it possible to pay some fees for next year as well, but as of now, we don’t have enough for all of the Get Schooled students to continue in 2020. And now that we’ve been around the entire country and seen thousands of kids on the streets who should be in school and the actual reality that it’s not a lack of effort or work ethic, but a myriad of other issues including HIV, addictions, death, disease, domestic violence and broken families, we can assure you that without sponsorship, education is impossible. If you sponsored a student this year and would like to sponsor a student or continue your sponsorship from this year, please email me at getschooled50for50 We will send this year’s final tuition payment in August which will take them to December And we will be in close touch with our team on the ground and provide accountability and encouragement to them to make sure your donations are used well. Education can and will change the trajectory of these kids’ lives and I hope their stories have opened your eyes to their needs, but also the gratitude and humility in which they receive your gifts. I think all of us can say that, to some degree, we got schooled.

P.S. This has become a good platform to reach a lot of you at once with progress updates, needs, and random thoughts and feelings that need to find a voice. Any future posts will be for that purpose. And now that we are off Ugandan soil, life will be just a little bit less interesting. ❤️

Videos:

Happy Birthday To Me

Oh.my.goodness.

Ugandans know how to throw a party. Our friends stayed up until 4 am to set up the tents and chairs in a garden venue we had rented and it looked truly amazing. The weather even cooperated!

When we arrived, most of the guests were already there. I scanned the crowd (of over 400) for the sweet faces that were my motivation these past two months and there were about forty of the Get Schooled students there, their teachers and caregivers, people from the church, local dignitaries, the mayor, and locals of all ages who just heard there was a party and were curious. The program was well-planned with singing, dancing, speeches, traditional music using ankole horns, cake, a huge lunch and an hour-long ‘skit’ about family life to wrap things up.

The theme throughout the entire day was gratefulness. The people of Kassanda wanted me to tell you all how very grateful they are for what you have done for them and the children. It was expressed over and over and over again. It was so hard for them to believe that so many North Americans have heard their stories and actually listened and done something to help. The idea that people from abroad would leave their lives for two months to come over and bike around their country just because they cared about the people of this nation humbled them so much that they had a hard time expressing it in words. But they sure could express it through song and dance. Their songs all had words of gratitude and told of how they are “fresh and clean” and “want to win.” A few of the school groups had prepared a number of songs in advance, choreographed perfectly, of course. It was the freestyle dancing that I really loved. People in the crowd would dance up and give tips to the dancers who they appreciated the most and some kids left with a small wad of cold hard cash in their pockets. Had we known about this tradition, we would have tipped every single one of them, including a tiny but talented toddler and a woman who must have been in her 70’s who weren’t even part of the program. She was dancing in her chair the whole time and then she would slowly dance up to the group waving a bill worth 1000 shillings (25 cents) and wait to see who was dancing with the most vigour, skill and heart. I want to be like that when I’m old. Even the babies where dancing and each group, including the moms, the dignitaries, and the teachers all had songs that they got up and danced to together. I was even pulled up at one point and danced with the District Commissioner while the crowd cheered and laughed. It’s time like these when I have to just forget about my comfort zone all together and embrace the moments I know will not happen again.

My speech went really well, according to John. They had the Get Schooled students grouped together so it was easy for me to talk directly to them about resilience and how much they motivated me on the trip. I was sure to relay how all of you have read their stories and been moved to give because you believe in them and care about their futures. Vincent spoke as well as a few other local leaders and head masters. I was really proud of Vincent and happy that he could share a report of all the things KCA is doing in the community in such a public way. He believes it will go a long way to influencing other public investment. The district leaders explained that they chose not to spend money on education last year in their region. But today the leaders promised that the money would stay in this district for vocational schools because they see that there is something now on which they can build and they trust the local efforts on the Get Schooled project. Our project helped them see the desire for education in the district and the governor challenged the crowd to also make sacrifices as, he acknowledged, all of our donors have done. So this party was critical to connect those who have political power to the issues on the ground and demonstrate to them that the money will be spent properly. It went a little sideways when the mayor started using me as an example to the women to stay in shape. And that men need to avoid “dirty ugly” women ….Not sure where he was going with all that because of the language barrier. But he did promise us specifically and the audience that his office would ensure that the money you donated will not go to waste and he would add to the efforts. He was deeply moved and extremely thankful for your sacrifice.

The huge birthday cake that even had my name on it, compliments of Lisa Dengel (thank you again), was amazing. They chopped it into small pieces and I got to serve it around to make sure everyone got a bite. The governor presented us with certificates of thanks from Kassanda Children’s Aid and some African art as a gift that I hope makes it home in one piece.

They had big pots of food, but only certain people were served hot chicken served in banana leaves and given utensils. Most guests, including the parents of the Get Schooled students and all of the children, were given only rice and beans and ate with their hands, some of them needing to use a cafeteria tray instead of a plate. The mayor was served first and then other distinguished guests. Later, Vincent, despite our protests, brought us up and skipped the line to make sure we got our plates of beans, potatoes, rice, squash, g-nut (peanut) sauce, greens, and chicken. Everyone lined up and just patiently waited, including all the children. It felt very uncomfortable eating a huge plate of food while those behind us had not been served yet, but when we tried to go last, they were hearing none of that so we didn’t argue. We ate the meal in humility and shared our chicken with a young girl that was not expecting to get anything to eat. She immediately shared with others around her and had a special but shy smile.

After lunch, I was visiting with Vincent’s children that had come from Kampala for the day. I really enjoy them a lot and feel like I’m really getting to know them better each visit. I had seen a few of them before we started biking but hadn’t seen his sons yet, Stephen and Eric, so it was a fun reunion. I was kneeling as we chatted and a young man nearby (who had just come in to see what was going on) asked what I was doing. “Talking with my friends,” I replied.

“But why are you on your knees like that?”

“It’s a sign of respect, isn’t it?” I asked.

“But you’re older than them!” He argued with a confused smile.

“Oh, yes, but these are my heroes right here. I can still learn from those who are younger than me.” He didn’t really have an answer to that but he stuck around the entire day and seemed to really enjoy himself.

And I wasn’t lying. These kids really have become little heroes to me for all they have been through and still endure. I couldn’t have asked for a better birthday celebration and the people of Uganda continue to impress me with their humility, sense of humour, giant hearts and generosity. The last year and a half of training, fundraising, praying, giving, planning, John’s recovery, and all 2200 kilometres came together today in one massive, crazy, loud, sweaty, crowded and deeply meaningful party and it is more than I could have ever asked for or imagined.

image3.jpeg

image11.jpeg

More Video:

No Struggle, No Reward

When I was little, I went horseback riding with my cousins up near Grand Lake in Colorado. I asked for an old horse because I wanted to go slowly because I had no idea what I was doing. I admired my older cousins because they seemed so outdoorsy and comfortable around horses and I wanted to be like them so I kept my fear to myself. I survived the trek out, away from the stables and was getting rather comfortable as my horse did, indeed, seem old and slow. Well, then we turned around to come back. I know my memory might not be the best because I was so little, but I remember my ‘slow’ horse taking off running as fast as her old legs could go, knowing she was heading back home to the comfort of her own space and maybe a sugar cube or a carrot for a treat.

That’s how I feel right now. Not the old part so much as my body feels pretty good, but knowing the simply pleasures that await me when I get home, I want to run as fast as I can. My kids. My mom’s voice. Brushing my teeth using the tap. My own bed. Popcorn. The lake. A toilet that always works. Heck, toilet paper that works. Hamburgers. Hot showers. Different clothes. Hair products. Reliable internet. Good soap. Doritos. Season 3 of Stranger Things. My favourite riding trails. Anonymity.

But there are also things I will deeply miss: Smiles and nods from everyone I see, the different view of the stars, spending quality time with John without distractions, time to read, the smells of campfire and roasting meat, my friends here, bird choirs, the Ugandan accent when they speak English and chipati, the local flatbread that you can buy anywhere on the street for a quarter.

If fact, I grew to like chipati so much that I asked Cici, one of the hotel hosts, if they could teach me how to make it. She said, “Sure! Meet me here at 6 am because that is when the chef makes it.” 6? Well, ok. When else am I gonna get such a chance to see the inside of a hotel kitchen and what better time to see that reality than right before I’m leaving and don’t plan to eat in any more in restaurants? Chef Ronald was kind enough to lead me through the process and I was taking notes on my phone the whole time of the ingredients and amounts. I would ask him how much sugar to put in. Oh, “just a fistful.” Ok. And how much salt? “About a quarter of a fistful.” Ok. Two eggs. A seemingly random amount of water and milk. A huge cafeteria-spoonful of margarine. Grated carrots. A few blended onions with the carrot ends that didn’t get grated. And about twelve kilograms of flour. It wasn’t until he dumped in six bags of flour that I realized he was making about 150 pieces when I will need maybe four. I’ll have to adjust those fistfuls.

He expertly reached in and mixed it all by hand and then poured oil all over it and kneaded it again. His hands were so quick as he began cutting off pieces with a huge knife and rolling them into balls that were all exactly the same size. As he was doing this, the security guard came in with his AK-47 strapped to his back. He flirted with Cici, grabbed a banana and left. The other boys were busy chopping vegetables, peeling potatoes, making greens and helping prepare the hotel breakfast of pineapple, bananas and hard boiled eggs. I found it fascinating to see how they cooked over charcoal and their systems that all kitchens have, no doubt. I awkwardly just sat in a chair in the middle of the room.

When it was time to cook the chipati, they added way too much charcoal to the fire and the flames were leaping up around the entire cast iron flat skillet. I wondered how often they get burned cooking over open flames but it seemed like a dumb question so I kept quiet. Plus, the cook put a wooden cabinet door between him and the fire so I figured he pretty much had it covered. Ronald rolled out the pieces of dough thinly, and the other cook put them onto the skillet that had been carefully treated with a little oil. He drizzled it with even more oil before he flipped them until they were perfectly cooked. No wonder they are so good. The whole process took about ninety minutes. I know mine won’t taste as good as the ones I’ve had here, but I’m sure gonna try. And mine won’t have the consistent token piece of sand in them, I hope.

John spent the day dismantling the bikes and packing so I took the opportunity to stay out of the way and go see a vocational school nearby that is sometimes supported by the church we attended yesterday. There were two boys learning about electronics and how to fix phones, TVs, etc. Then there was a class of five girls learning sewing and tailoring skills. They had sewn some dresses out of cement bags to show potential customers the different styles that were available for pants, shirts and dresses. One of them wasn’t wearing her school uniform and seemed embarrassed by that when I showed up. She quickly got up, carefully avoiding getting her picture taken, until she had her shirt in and properly tucked into her skirt. Finally, there was a group of five young ladies studying theory for cosmetology. They were gregarious and fun. They only had a single dummy head between all five of them and one mirror. Obviously, their biggest need was supplies. No make up. No hair dryers. No scissors or razors. No wonder they were working on the theory. There were not enough supplies to do the practical applications.

These students are working to learn a trade after not being able to afford further secondary school fees or not passing their exams to move forward into the last two years of secondary. It seems typical that students complete “S4” (four out of the possible six years for secondary) and then drop out, looking for work because they know they can’t afford university. The girls in this particular school wanted to have a skill so they didn’t have to rely on a man to take care of them. It seems rather typical that a woman will get married and have kids and then be abandoned and can’t care for the kids because she has no skills. I admire these girls for being realistic, independent and smart. I told them that the next time I come, we could do some work in self defence and that got them really excited. I hope that becomes a reality. They insisted on walking me all the way back to my hotel, picking flowers for my hair and taking selfies. A policeman who knew them stopped his motorcycle to have a word and commented on their school uniforms not being tucked in. One of the sassy girls showed him that she was wearing a dress underneath so she couldn’t tuck. I liked her immediately. It was really fun and again confirmed my draw towards that age group.

I spent time this afternoon writing the speech that I’m expected to deliver tomorrow at the celebration party. John helped me come up with the analogy of the biking and how hard it can be to get over the mountains and hills in our lives but that if we don’t give up and accept a little push once in awhile, the reward at the top is always worth it. Because it will be translated, it gives me time to look at the cues on my phone as I speak, but I hope the message is not lost in translation. I also kinda hope there are not the 400 guests they are expecting. That’s gonna be super tough, but I want to finish strong and I can always sleep on the plane. We saved a bunch of our Get Schooled frisbees so it should be a good day. And I have to say a public thank you to Lisa Dengel from the US for providing a cake. We are grateful. Tomorrow might actually feel as hard as a 100-km-uphill-all-the-way day for us. But, as I’m telling the kids tomorrow – if there is no struggle, there is no reward.

Mazungu, Byee!!

These last two days have been busy! On Saturday morning, I spent time washing my bike, doing laundry and trying to organize the chaos that erupted in our room once we got back. John went to clear his head on a bike ride, but the continued over-attention and dust make it hard to want to travel very far.

Yesterday, after making a lunch of chipati and avocado with mango bought from locals around the area, we went with Vincent and Jacob to see the Steven Baker Farm, a seven-acre plot of land purchased for them by a woman in the US in memory of her son. Here they grow bananas, sweet potatoes, coffee, groundnuts, pineapple, carrots, jackfruit, cassava, squash, eggplants, and various greens. Kasanda Children’s Aid then uses the produce to provide for people in the region who cannot feed themselves, selling any leftovers to put back into the farm, which they admit is very little once they care for immediate needs. We walked to every corner of the property, the boundary being marked with little (one-foot tall) planted trees.

On the property, they had built a house for a young mom who is HIV positive whose husband died of AIDS. She is the mother of two of our Get Schooled students who live there with her: Prossey (in the picture with me below) and Fabian. Kasanda Children’s Aid has been able to build three houses in the last five months or so through various donations from the US and Canada and local grants. It costs $2500 to build a two-room house with a solar light, a safe steel door with a lock (as opposed to a cloth sheet which is the typical door), a solid rainproof roof and an outhouse pit toilet. Our friend Jacob is a jack of all trades and he voluntarily builds these structures with a helper in a matter of two weeks. They are solidly constructed out of bricks and, compared to the thatched ‘bathroom’ (which was really just a small three-walled enclosure made of sticks and grass) and the deteriorating structure that was falling down around them in which they lived before, it was the Ritz. They also bought her a popcorn machine so she could make a little money for her family (see picture below). Another one they had built had a little shop in the window, showing the honest effort of the woman who lived there and her desire to try and provide what little she could for her family (also pictured below).

While driving to these houses, we came by a woman who was sitting on the side of the road in a field of corn who goes to Vincent’s church and sings in the choir. She invited us to come to her house to see her grandchildren. She had inherited a small plot of land through someone’s death and had four of her grandchildren living with her. Her own grown children had left their kids with her and she never heard from her children again. She tries to find where they are just so she knows how their lives are going, but hasn’t been able to find them and they have not checked in on her or the children they left behind in her care. Her traditional gomesi dress was fraying at the bottom and her sweet face was etched with sorrow and hard work, caring for toddlers and young children as a woman in her late 50’s. The kids looked happy, but sick. One had an eye that looked infected and their noses were running as they sat on a tattered blanket together in threadbare clothes. She invited me to look into her house and not only was it pitch black in the middle of the afternoon, but also dirty and tattered, pitiful and in shambles. I have not seen such poverty before. The pit toilet (that she had to dig on her own) consisted of two large rectangular holes, too big for the small children to use without spreading their hands and feet in the human waste and filth to keep from falling in (pictures below). My heart broke. I could see that John’s had too. I wanted Vincent to tell her how proud I felt of her – how thankful I was that she was taking care of these children the best way she could. I choked on my words and couldn’t speak. John leaned over to Vincent and quietly said through tears, “Please don’t tell her until we’re gone, but we will pay for her house if Jacob will build it.” I am so honoured to be married to a man who can’t help his compassion and is moved to action for strangers, but with great humility.

Church had already been going for two hours when someone was sent to fetch us. John and I both got onto the back of a small motorcycle with the driver and drove through town. I was wearing a skirt so had to sit side saddle and hung on for dear life even though it was only a kilometre or two. I have been to this church before on a previous trip with Martial Arts for Justice when we met with local ladies to do a little self-defence training and trauma counselling. Nothing had changed. The walls were still sawn logs that hung crookedly with huge gaps between them. The colourful fabric still hung in big sheets around the one-room building and the pineapple party favours made in China still hung crazily from the ceiling. The uneven stage still sagged with each movement of the dancing choir. The children sang and danced in the front rows while women breastfed their babies and the men danced and clapped with sweaty faces. And of course, we were sitting right up front with all eyes on us and awkwardly trying to keep up. They honoured us greatly with their words of thanks and the choir sang a song for us. Although it was uncomfortable to say the least to be the centre of such attention and the topic of the sermon, their hearts were on full display and all we could do was take it all in with humility and gratitude for their prayers and acceptance. I talked a little after the sermon about the ride and the children, but mostly thanked them for their prayers and encouraged them that hundreds of people in the US and Canada care about them enough to give resources to the children of Uganda whom they will most likely never meet in person. The magnitude of that kind of love was not lost on them. After the service most of those in attendance came up to shake our hands or share a hug. One sweet older women placed two eggs in my hand as a thank you…one of the most precious gifts I’ve ever received.

After the four-hour service, we went to Vincent’s house where he had lunch prepared: fried chicken, rice, greens, noodles, squash, potatoes, and beans in sauce. It is meaningful in every culture, I believe, to share a meal together and as we all sat around and ate, joking and laughing but also talking about the suffering these people have seen, it further bound us together. They appreciate John so much and use him as an example of what a supportive husband looks like. I agree. They recognize the sacrifice it took for us to leave our jobs and our friends and family behind to complete this project. And although we appreciated their kind words, it was very humbling when we consider the North American wealth and safety that we get to return to. Soon, we have to say goodbye to our Ugandan friends, knowing of their continuous struggle, having seen the poverty in which even the pastors live and knowing our big friend Jacob (the former heavyweight champion of Uganda) sleeps under a tattered blanket in a top bunk with two children in the bunks below him.

You know, the ‘greeting’ that I heard coming from the mouths of children more often than any other across the entire country was, “Muzungu, byee! Muzungu, byee!” I’ve thought about this a lot and I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s because we foreigners come…but we always get to leave.

Busy Heartbreaking Day

Hello everyone. Thank you again for sticking with us through this journey. We keep asking each other, “Do you think anyone is still reading these?” And then we get an encouraging email or text that confirms there are at least a few of you out there. 🙂

We are going to post a longer blog tomorrow because we are tired today, both physically and emotionally. It was heartbreaking and humbling. For these two introverts who find it easier to be pedalling, lost in our own thoughts, than being the centre of attention, these next few days might be the hardest. We are delving deep into Kasanda, expressing thanks at church tomorrow, packing, partying with the kids, giving speeches, shaking hands, navigating the language barrier, all the while feeling fatigued and homesick.

Have a great day, everyone. We are looking forward to home and more grateful than usual for all of you and the way that we are blessed to live.