We’ve been back in the warmth of Gulu for over a month now, so apologies for the lack of communication, it’s been a busy transition back. Having had our first British winter in 6 years, we realised just how much we are acclimatised to the African heat and life, and that the children maybe British my birth but they are African at heart.
Once the excitement of Christmas and their first experiences of snow had worn off, it became apparent how ‘home’ for us is really not ‘home’ for them. The strange and beautiful land of the UK had many wonders for them to enjoy, from beaches to comb and berries to eat but as the wonder past and things became familiar, so their longing for Gulu increased.
Beach combing in Scotland
Connie in particular was yearning to be with her cat, climb trees and generally just be free to run around with not much on. Her Gulu friends, were mentioned daily, as were questions about ‘how long’ it would be before we were back.
One thing the children did love in the UK was being with family. We stayed with Joe’s parents and it was beautiful to watch their relationships with our families blossom. Unsurprisingly, they enjoyed being spoilt rotten with every manner of affection, being lavished with time, hugs, play, kind words, endless stories, gifts and plentiful puddings.
Connie enjoying walking Harry with Aunty Alice and Uncle Bill.
As the time drew near for us to depart, you could see their turmoil, on the one hand desperate to be in Uganda but not wanting to be apart from family. On several occasions Connie articulated how she wanted all her family and friends to all be together, in the one place, preferably Gulu.
It was good to see both the UK and Uganda from their perspective. They don’t see things how we see them, and for the most part in a good way. It gave us new appreciation for all the joys that Uganda holds for them and just how deeply they love their friends and life here.
Connie enjoying rice and beans
Reuben reunited with his beloved ‘aunties’
On arrival back in Uganda, their joy was plain to see. Beaming faces as they tucked in enormous plates of rice and beans and huge hugs for everyone they’d missed. However, as the initial elation of being ‘home’ past, so their longing for family and friends from the UK increased. As Connie tried to figure out her mixed emotions, it manifested by not wanting to speak to anyone from the UK, or even to see pictures of our time there. Her little heart was grieving and confused, and it was hard to watch.
A month on and we’ve had a breakthrough, with requests to speak again to family and friends and to look at pictures and videos of our time in the UK. We’d would really value your prayers as we help them live in two worlds. Pray for wisdom and discernment in how to navigate the joys and sorrows of having loved ones spread out across the globe. Pray that they would grow into confident young people, who know who they are and are free to be that wherever they are and whoever they are with.
Also, a huge thank you to all of you who journey this with us. Those of you around the world, who love us and our children, who walk the road with us, who laugh and cry with us, you have our heartfelt thanks. We miss you when we are not with you.