I'm in a fancy lodge that doesn't feel like africa to me, except for the warthogs (boars?) wandering around and the many, many elephants and the single prowly leopard on the road in. I just had a massage where the fingers painfully working the knots in my shoulder like untangling a necklace transformed me back into a stressed out Canadian.
I'm in culture shock, at the prices -- I'm giggling at the fact that I can't bear to pay the price they want for a morning game drive, which is the whole reason people come here -- at being treated like a tourist, at being surrounded by panting muzungo with huge cameras. Flattened a bit by that, and by the lingering tummy issues, but mostly at letting go of the kids.
I had a whole post written about this, but it got eaten by the rickety internet system here... but we left with less wailing this time -- they know we're coming back -- but many many tight tight hugs. Stories and trailing needs even as we left. Joel is entranced by the idea of us helping the widows' collective in his relatives' village with microcredit and is writing us a proposal. ("Would pictures help?" he asked). Long silent eloquent hugs from the reserved Joy, Brita. Final pics with the big boys. Verbal postits to gabriel and tina: Joy needs to go to an ENT in kampala, Inno can't hear for some reason, Inno lost his towel at the beach, Alex and Brenda need to go to the opthamalogist in Mmbarara, Baptista's shoes were stolen at school. How proud we felt when each of the big kids claimed a little kid as his or hers to look after. After the tiny cake, and our final little speech to the kids about the changes we're making (to some cheers), each big kid stood up with his or her "mentee," and we had all the little kids say who was looking after them. Broad grins. Baba -- Abdu. Moses -- Baptista. Alex -- Rafiki. Madam -- Saphra. Deheri -- Beth.
So much hope. Now into a completely different africa.