That's what I said when my friend Gina asked me about my trip to Uganda.
And it did.
I hadn't thought about saying that - it just tumbled out of my mouth but as soon as it did my heart reacted.
Because it was the truth.
Uganda feels like home to me.
And oh how I miss it.
I don't miss it in a "oh that was great and it be cool to go back someday" sort of way but rather in a "I cannot stop thinking about Uganda and her children and my Sarah and Nusula and I cannot rest until I get back there" sort of way.
It's killing me that I don't know WHEN that will be exactly, and I am struggling hard to trust that God has all of the details worked out already and I needn't worry.
If you think about it, pray for me and my heart and my faith.
So we spent the first 2ish days at Canaan Childrens Home and then went to Kampala for two days and then went back to Canaans for another two days before returning to the city.
I've already written about the first two days here.
When we left for Kampala in the middle of the week, I was sad. I had already fallen in love with Sarah and Canaans and just wanted to stay there. When we woke up our first morning in Kampala my whole room was sad and not really ready to meet a bunch of new kids. I even remember telling the girls that "I just want to go home to Canaans" and they agreed. Of course we ended up loving Return Uganda and Pastor Samuel and all of the kiddos there (which is another post that's coming) but we were VERY excited to get to go back "home."
When we pulled up to Canaans the bus was swarmed again but this time we were looking for our specific kids and it was the best welcome home ever!
We got there in the late afternoon and just played and loved on the kids. That night after dinner we led the kids in some crazy praise songs and then they stayed up and worshipped with us in English. It was a very special night. Sarah and Nusula fell asleep on me and I got to tuck them into bed and pray over them - like a Momma does.
The next day we spent the morning with Amazima (another post) and then the afternoon back at Canaans. The kids performed songs and skits for us (each dorm) and I'm telling you, you would have thought our own children were up on that stage. We were whooping and hollering and trying to get the best seat for pictures. It was wonderful! I was one proud Momma. ;) I kept thinking that THIS is what it's going to feel like when I watch Silas perform one day. Exactly like this.
After the performances, we had a surprise for them. One of our teammates had purchased new school shoes for all of the kids and we got to call them each by name, take off their dirty, old, too small shoes and wash their feet and put on their new shoes. It was a very special time. The kids were thrilled and so proud of their shoes! They were also able to have their fingernails painted and were given sillybandz. :)
Later that night after everyone was in the dorms preparing for bed, we took each dorm some goodies. The baby dorm got stuffed animals and this was special to me because they sleep with nothing but a scratchy blanket (no pillow) and I sleep with my teddy bear and I know how comforting it can be to have my teddy bear to hug (yes, I'm 27 and still sleep with a stuffed animal - proudly! :P). For some reason it made me feel better knowing that Sarah had a little lion to snuggle with at night.
The bigger kids got markers and other goodies and the teenagers got deodorant, mirrors, markers, and everyone got new clothes. There was great rejoicing at Canaans that night. :)
Our team spent the late hours of the night writing letters to our kids and trying to prepare our hearts for the "goodbye" that was coming the next day.
I was not ready.
The next day was Sunday and we spent the morning with Amazima and then came back and had about 30-45 minutes to load our luggage and say goodbye. This was not a happy time - for us or the kids. There were lots and lots of tears and hugs and snuggles and even though we were all out in the courtyard, it was very quiet as everyone whispered sweet prayers and goodbyes to each other and snapped a few last pictures.
I sat on the ground with Sarah and Nusula and just held them.
And then we hugged and kissed one last time and the team got on the bus.
We waved goodbye and Nusula held Sarah and walked beside my window and held my hand until we got out of the gate.
And then I lost it.
I don't think any of us spoke for at least 30 minutes.
It was rough and I was a wreck.
But hard goodbyes and being heartbroken just means that you loved BIG and I'm so grateful for the time I got to spend there.
And I am longing with all of my heart for the day that I get to return to Uganda.
Here's a couple of videos. They are raw and unedited and I am a terrible ??videographer?? and you'll have to ignore my annoying voice. (Anyone else HATE to hear themselves talk on a video?) So yeah. Hopefully more videos to come. And pictures too - because for some reason blogger isn't letting me put pictures and video in this post.
So I just published the post and tried the videos and the one on the left is turned the wrong way and I don't know how to fix it or how to delete it from the post. Hopefully blogger is just being funky right now and I can fix it later. Until then, just watch the one on the right.:) Ugh.
A Visiting Orphans team was at Canaans this week and one of my teammate's husband was on the trip and he took little packages to Sarah and Nusula for me and he took pictures of them. I can't wait to see them all!