Saturday, November 30, 2013

First week in Uganda

I don't really care how long things take now, the clock stopped with meeting him. He is just what we hoped for and yet we don't know him at all. Each day he reveals a little more and our relationship is one day longer.

Time is in a very suspended state: each day tackling a few new tasks in a city that's utterly wild, feels like a rural New York City or formal camping (every year Eric and I and his friends head into the woods and dress up in our finest) - the madams here often walk down the red earth road in satin gowns or elaborate African attire.

We arrived in Kampala a few days ago. jet lagged and slowed by the heat, we slept for the first day. Breakfast was in their open air cafe: instant kaawa, buttered potatoes, white bread with jam, boiled egg, pineapple, guava, watermelon and mysterious and delicious fruit juice. I felt like William S. Burroughs in Mexico.

The orphanage or children's home is only a block away and up the hillside. I sort of like the word orphanage as it conjures up a lot of appropriate imagery though it's not completely fair. I get the impression the women or madams never put our son on the ground. He insists on being carried. When we first saw him he was sitting in the middle of the floor with another baby. The TV was on and the room was dark. The caretakers were all sitting on the couch. We sort of popped in on them when they weren't expecting it...and it was after hours. Luke (Luk-a), this is your mami. This is your dati.

We see him for a couple of hours everyday, but he can't join us until after the court date on Wednesday, Dec. 4. He is calm with us and doesn't cry, but he is visibly sad and often reaches out for a madam. This is the best thing Eric and I have ever done with our lives, but it is one of the saddest days for him. He will be discrupted from everything he knows as his life. Imagine if you were taken from your home right now, as you read this, placed in a foreign country, with a different language, with different looking people, and you wont see your family as you know them again. Oh but there are horses and food and attention and...yet it doesn't replace what you had grown to know and love. It was familiar and safe.

I don't want to end my first entry on a downbeat. But the alternative for him is dire, perhaps deadly. There are way too many impoverished children here WITH parents. He has no family that can afford to care for him, educate him, provide him access and options. We can. I hope he understands that one day and can mend this great tear. See it as choosing survival. Choosing life. Choosing family.