Uganda: Day 12 - The Connect
After a marvelous experience on the other side of the world, we returned to the Entebee airport ready to go home. As we sat in the tiny sitting area, waiting for our plane to arrive, we met a very interesting man. He had traveled to over fifty countries and was on his way back home to Ireland. We swapped stories and got to know each other. When he asked us where we were from, we said Los Angeles. He proceeded to ask if we were near Hollywood and we explain how we were there weekly.
Shocked, he laughed and said, "You're from Hollywood yet your visiting Uganda. That's huge difference!"
He's right of course. How can you even begin to compare the slow country life with the fast-paced city of entertainment? You really can't. For the past few weeks. I've been writing about both Hollywood and Uganda. Interestingly enough, I've meet a number of people who have a similar heart as mine for both. What I've come to find is that God made the world a whole lot smaller than we sometimes. There are some people in the world who have been designed with a heart ready to help and a talent ready to share.
This life is too short to waste. In my journey to change the world, meet people of all cultures and develop my craft, I've learned several things:
1. Travel Far. Too limit yourself to one place is to miss the miraculous wonders, experiences and people out there Take advantage of every mission trip, vacation and cultural experience you can find. Learn as much as you can and take the steps necessary to see the world.
2. Take Risks. You'll never know if you never try. You can spend your life wondering forever, or you can just go for it. The scariest things may change your life. It won’t be a success, but if you’re willing to try for the experience and the learning process, it will always be worth it.
3. Love Deeply and Freely. To love every person you come across is a beautiful thing. You never know what stories or knowledge is hiding behind a person's eyes until you take the time to reach out to them. Forgive and move on. True happiness comes from the liberation of being free. To allow old scars to bring you down or hold you back only prevents you from discovering all you can be.
At the end of the day, Uganda and Hollywood are the perfect combination. Where else can you find a heart and passion stronger than that of a starving artist or a grandmother who has led her babies through war? Both are fighting for something. I hope this Uganda series has reminded you of the great suffering that does happen daily around the world. I hope you take the initiative to make change and never take for granted the joy that comes daily with simply being alive. Seek out that greatest joy inside of you and watch what can happen as you do.
Uganda: Day 11 - Doorsteps
One night, we drove for thirty minutes down a bumpy road. Either side of the road was pitch black and we could hear bats screeching throughout the night. The car's windshield had a massive crack running through it and one of the car doors didn't open. It was the most durable car I had ever been in. Eventually, we entered a town and drove past the shops to a little side street. A huge electric fence rested on one side guarding one of the largest Ugandan hospitals. On the other side was a row of houses. That is where we found Pastor Tim's house.
Maybe a day or two after that, we had the morning to ourselves. We strolled down to Gilbert's house to see if he would take us around town. When we got there, we found him and his grandfather hammering away at the ground. They were building a latrine. That's a fancy way of saying bathroom. Keep in mind, an African bathroom is a tiny room outside with a 2" by 4" hole in the ground. But it's deep.
Once Gilbert's grandfather saw us, he showed us all that he had worked to built. Their home was two tiny rooms. No floor. They had built it from the ground up. Their land stretched pretty far and they had planted all sorts of fruit trees and vegetables. He led us all the way down to the end of his land. At the end, we came to a little stream that floods when it rains. That stream is connected to the Nile River.
Two very different homes, but both holding two very great families.
Uganda: Day 10 - True Friendship
The first day we arrived at Moma's and Dad's home, I noticed a barrier between us and them. We were clearly the guests of honor, but there was something lonely about that. They held us in such high regard as if we were royalty not meant to see a day of hard labor. But, of course, Seb and I have humble backgrounds. We don't hold ourselves in that regard at all. The last thing I wanted was for these people to. My heart's desire was for these people to see that we were just like them. And in that, I wanted us to develop a fellowship, an opportunity to truly know each other's hearts. I knew that if the barrier was still up by the time we left, I would have failed in my own personal mission.
One thing I've learned from travel is that you can have everything planned perfectly, but at any moment the entire thing can fall apart. The best you can do is be prepared for anything to happen. And that's the reason Seb and I found ourselves in the living room on a Wednesday morning when Auntie Rachael walked in crying.
For the privacy of my friend, I won't go into details. But it was in this moment when I understood why our plans had fallen apart. We were here for these people. To become their friends, to let them vent and to be a comfort. At the end of the day, it didn't matter what we said or where we said it. The most important thing was that we were there.
When we had started out the mission trip, our host family would pass us in the hallways, smile and focus on setting the table and preparing food for us. They would sit on stools and eat with their hands outside while we sat on the couches in the living room with all our fancy utensils. But overtime, Sebastian and I broke our way into the kitchen and learned how to make chapattis. Then we would eat with the children outside. Slowly but surely the barrier began to fade.
One night we sat in the living room with Pastor Fred. The electricity was out again. All we had for light was our gas lantern. It was there that Pastor Fred said how he couldn't believe that we chose to live with the natives instead of in a hotel. (This option had been offered to us earlier and we had declined). He explained how they were nervous because it was dangerous for us to stay with the natives. But even more, he was shocked that we would chose to give up our personal comforts to live with them. Yet he said that was the number one thing he would tell his friends and family about.
When you live with people, you can cry with them, pray for them and laugh with them. I can guarantee that is something they will never forget. And that's why it was such a precious moment for Auntie Rachael to finally pour her heart out to us.
She had walked in to serve us eggs and tomatoes (my favorite) like any morning. However, by this point, we had talked together, worked in the kitchen together, and had many jokes together. So, when she came in, she began to talk to us. Her heart was heavy and we could hear the hurt and pain in her voice. She shared her burdens with us and began to cry. When I stood up and hugged her as she cried, I knew a bond had been formed between us that would last a lifetime.
Uganda: Day 9 - The Devil Inside
A couple days after we got back from Africa, I had a conversation with a friend about the new Harry Potter movie. We were getting ready to see it and I asked her if it was good. Of course, she said yes and went on to talk about how the movie is about the underground witch community. Without thinking, I said, "Oh yeah, we dealt with some of that in Africa. It'll be interesting to see another perspective to it."
As soon as the comment left my mouth I realized how ridiculous I must of sounded. I had just correlated my life to one of the most fantastic pieces of FICTIONAL literature. The inner Alyssa shrunk up inside in complete embarrassment. Did I really just make a comment about dealing with witches to my dear American friend? Yes. Yes, I did.
But, as embarrassed as I was, I had been telling the truth. While in Africa, we did deal with witchcraft. And, unfortunately, it wasn't the Harry Potter kind of witchcraft either. No, what we were dealing with was something much worse, much more dangerous and much more real.
I grew up in a half Christian half Atheist/Agonist/Buddhist/Hindu home (the second religion changed often). So things of the spiritual nature where common and often at war in my house. Luckily, my mom gave me a great Spiritually 101 lesson when I was young so nothing was too shocking.
It was the second Saturday and we had a huge children's party planned (probably not the setting you were expecting for this kind of scenario). We had over one hundred kids at this party. The tiny church was literally packed out. Sebastian and I walked through a sea of brown little faces. The kids were clapping, cheering, and looking at us in awe and disbelief as we moved our way to the front of the room. We spent the day watching performances, giving gifts, and eating food with a lot of children (which my dad had given us money to help pay for, thank you Dad).
At the end of the party, Pastor Alex was wrapping things up. Before we knew it, he started preaching. Let me tell you, when African pastors preach, it is no joke. If you fall asleep in American services (I've been guilty of that), go to an African service. There's more adrenaline there than at a concert.
As he's preaching and he calls for an alter call. About twenty people of all ages and sizes come up to accept the Lord. When Pastor Alex started praying, I noticed one young lady put a hand to her head. She was 19, a little heavy set, very sweet and a bit shy, but I didn't know this at the time. All I knew was that one second she was putting her head on her head and the next she was falling over on top of a little girl. I remember locking eyes with this tiny girl holding her present as this young woman fell on top of her. I didn't know what to do because the next second, the young lady rolled on top of the little girl and rolled supernaturally fast (hands above head) right up to my and Sebastian's feet. She rolled away and all four of the pastors ran swiftly to her.
She tried to run away and clawed at them like there was no tomorrow, but in a matter of time, all four pastors had pinned her to the ground. She started screamed and crying at the top of her lungs as she fought to get away as hard as she could. The pastors fought to keep this one girl pinned to the ground as they started yelling and praying in her face. Pastor Alex continued preaching.
I don't know how long it lasted, but it felt like a good thirty minutes. FOUR pastors to wrestle down one screaming girl.
It still gives me chills to think about it and I can't help but find myself near tears. Eventually, the demon left. The girl sat up in shock. She was crying and looked a little embarrassed. She started dusting herself off and sat in a corner recollecting herself and trying to fix her hair. She looked a mess, but the truth was a chronic headache she had had for years was gone. We went up and introduced ourselves and left shortly after that.
As we drove back, I asked Pastor Fred about it. He shared with me that satanic worship was very common in the area. There was actually a shrine right down the street from where we were staying. It was common for people to literally sell their souls to the devil. He proceeded to tell me about the "night dancers". As romantic as their title sounds, they're actually quiet horrifying. Night dancers are people who have allowed themselves to become demon possessed. At night, they go out and eat the carcasses of human bodies. According to Pastor Fred, they are common in his neighborhood and by the church (both were walking distance from where we were staying). Apparently, that area and some others are places that you don't want to be walking in at night, for obvious reasons.
And that was only one of the many different kinds of demon possessed results. Other people become violent. Some don't get demon possessed but used voodoo to ruin others. If you get on a hit list like that, there's literally no way to protect yourself. A lawyer was ruined because someone used voodoo on him. He lost his mind and began saying awful things about his family tearing them apart.
That night I didn't sleep much. I was fascinated by the "night dancer" concept and decided it was definitely going in my upcoming novel, Nankunda. Naturally the author in me was fascinated. Yet the person in me was stunned. I stayed up listening to a screeching bat that must have been on the roof and thought about how many night dancers might be out there that night. Luckily, my faithful protector and husband was lying in bed right next to me, not sleeping also. I think the event had struck a chord in both of us differently, but just as hard.
African Alter Call. At the end the young lady falls and starts screaming. After that Sebastian and I were shocked and stopped recording.
If you took a random person off the streets of America and asked them if they thought they were rich, the majority would say no. Being rich in America means being Bill Gates or Warren Buffet. But in Africa, if you are white, you are considered rich.
I found this to be an interesting concept. Before I got married, I spent nearly a year jumping from house to house struggling to get by. I had gone through several cars. One was a lemon, two were borrowed, and one I was in a car accident in. It was totaled. Trying to keep food around was difficult. Keeping a roof over my head was even harder. I had jobs but was constantly jumping from one to the next. I had just graduated college and was going through one of the greatest self seeking journeys of my life.
The cause of my vagabond year was caused by one of two things. First, I was too stubborn to conform to the mundane American life of work, sleep, and repeat. Also, I was struggling with complex PTSD which is no fun. But the number one reason was because I saw something greater. I saw a life where people were invested in each other. Where it mattered if your neighbor was doing ok. Where everyday was an adventure, not just passing minutes until shifts were over.
My point in all of this is that I'm not rich. I've fined dined in China but I've also gone to bed hungry. Today, Sebastian and I do well with our tiny studio apartment. Our cupboards are always full of food and our cars are always running. We're not rich, but we definitely have enough.
When we were in Africa, the point was quickly made that muzungos meant money. Often we were asked to help pay for school fees. Sometimes we were asked to send back gifts, like phones. It wasn't too excessive but it got me thinking. Africa wants to be more like America with their big fancy phones. They assume we all have more money than we need. Americas, on the other hand, want to be more like Bill Gates or Warren Buffet with their luxurious cars and big houses.
Every situation is different, but I think it is possible that we have become so consumed by materialism that we've lost sight of what is important. Don't get me wrong, the starving child on the street needs food. Period. But where's the line? When do we know we don't need anything more?
Being a missionary to a number of countries, I've fallen into a pattern of how I minister to people. Some missionaries bring healing and prophecies. Others build houses and churches. I bring myself and all the love I have inside of me. The best thing Seb and I did while in Uganda was that we lived with people. We slept when they slept, we ate when they ate, and we lived like how they lived. The ability to love is a gift each person is given at birth. How we use it is up to each of us individually. We can let our desire to buy things drown out our a capability to love or we can love to the point where we forget that we even have needs and wants.
When it comes down to it, even the staving child doesn't really need money for food. They need a parent. I write this blog as a challenge to Africans, Americans, and everyone really. Keep what you need to get by and let go of everything else. To the Americans, a new phone only gives you access to login into facebook where self esteem drops. But time off your phone to spend with those you love brings so much more joy. And to the Africans, muzungos bringing money won't fix a thing. Our live isn't as glamorous at it seems. Spending time with those you love is priceless no matter where you live. If you already have that, don't get a phone to take away from it. Work hard enough to eat everyday, then spend the night laughing with your family. It's much more fulfilling, I promise. And for those with the excess money, use to give to those who need a hand to get back on their feet. But be sure to teach them how to get back on their feet first!
Uganda: Day 7 - How Much More?
I've never really understood the whole animal rights thing. Don't get me wrong, I love pets and I love my dog like crazy. But I've never been one to cry over the animal rescue commercials and I've always thought that it's a little silly to go through huge adoption processes for animals. But while in Uganda, I came to discover my heart for animals was a little bigger than I realized.
We did not see lions. I honestly don't think I ever will see a lion in Africa either. But, we did see monkeys, pigs, cows, goats, chickens, cranes and (on one special occasion) a camel. Needless to say, the wildlife was overflowing.
At first, I would go visit the pigs. Then Auntie Rachael told me how pigs are greedy and will break through their enclosure to eat babies when their hungry. After that, I stopped visiting the pigs. I decided to move on to chickens. The family would laugh at me as they watched me stare after the chickens and would tell Gilbert to get a chick for me. He’d go up to a bunch of baby chicks and pick one up for me. Then, the momma hen would stick her neck out, flap her wings and chase him like any protective mom would. So, he would throw the chick back at her and grab a huge banana branch and try again. When the mom came after him a second time, he'd hit her with the branch!
I loved holding the tiny chick in my hands, but I couldn't help but feel bad for the momma and her crying baby. So, after a while I'd return the baby to the mom and avoid getting into the same predicament for short while.
Another time, we went to visit a Muslim family. All the kids were with us (and a good ten extra we had picked up along the way) and they all already knew how much I loved animals. So, while Pastor Alex was talking to the Muslim family, Joseph went over, picked up a baby goat and placed it in Sebastian's arms. Then he went back and got one for me. That was fun.
Of course, I'm no fool. We definitely ate one of the roosters I had bonded with, thus reminding me why it is such a bad idea to get attached to your soon to be dinner. But it was still worth it. I had fun watching the animals and I know for a fact the Ugandans had fun watching me be entertained by the animals.
However, I'm not actually writing this post to talk about all my silly animal stories. There was actually a very significant lesson to be learned through my attachment to them. So, here's one last story before I share the lesson.
Joseph had a dog named Ami. He was Joseph's loyal companion and would follow him to Momi and Dad's house where we were staying. Near the end of our trip, he'd hang out with us every day and just lay down in the shade. He looked a lot like my dog. He had the same features as a German shepherd only he looked as though he had been shrunk down ten sizes. Both the resemblance to my dog and my natural love for dogs made me fond of Ami really fast. Every day, I'd step outside and the family would start laughing at me right away. They already knew where I was going. They would watch as I walked over to Ami and started petting him. They don't eat dogs, but to them, animals need to have some kind of purpose other than companionship. I'm sure in their heads they were wondering why I was spending so much time petting the security system. But who's to blame them? Who would want to pet an animal covered with fleas and ticks? Yes, every day, I'd find three new ticks buried deep in Ami's neck. And every day I'd say, "Joseph!" and point to the ticks so he'd remove them.
One day while petting Ami and sitting with Momi, Dad, Auntie Rachael, Joseph and Sandra, I told them how if my dog ever had fleas and ticks my mom would panic and get a bunch of medication for the dog. A concerned look came on Auntie Rachael's face. She bent down and started looking at Ami and saying something to Joseph in Luganda. I suddenly realized how ignorant my statement was. The thought of medical care for an animal was probably unheard of. And then it hit me. Why would people be concerned about the medical care of an animal when they are already being eaten alive by their own human ticks?
See while in Uganda, I had learned about jiggers. They're little parasites that burrow into your feet. I asked Pastor Fred if they were common in Luwero and he said that my little friends probably got them at home all the time. The flooring of their house is just dirt and there is no cement. But even still, while in Uganda I had learned of so many different ways that humans can be slowly eaten alive! A little girl I met at a school had bites up and down her arms. The best possible scenario would have been that she had bug infested sheets. But the other feasible option was that she went to the bathroom in her sleep, slept in her own feces all night and the worms that came out of her unhealthy system would bite at her. Whether by disease or parasites or worms, there were a million and one different things feasting on my friends.
So why would they be concerned with the health of a dog? I get tears in my eyes when I think about that one moment. For us "wealthy" people in America, we take care of our pets as if they were family. But how much more should we be taking care of our friends in Africa who are suffering ten times worse than our pets? It's almost a terrifying thought to think that humans are living in worse circumstances than dogs.
Maybe there are people living in worse circumstances than any of us can dream. If we can do something about it we should. But as much as I want to see a world with no pain and no suffering for all people, I have faith that this world is just one step before the pain free world. And I have faith that each and every person that has endured any kind of trial will come to find vindication and liberation in God. I trust that God will take care of my friends in Africa. I've seen him take care of my friends in the Philippines, in Central Asia, in Rwanda and in China. I've seen him take care of my family and of myself time and time again. So I trust that He'll take care of us all. We might get some bumps and bruises as we go, but at the end of the day if our hearts are in His hands, then we're only just beginning to see and understand a beautiful life beyond pain.
Uganda: Day 6 - Rain Dance
There's been a change in the weather. Usually, November is a very rainy season for Luwero. However, something has happened in the recent years. The rain has stopped. And in it's place, there is a beating hot sun. Anyone who drives two hours to Kampala will find themselves in a rainstorm. But for whatever reason, the rain in Luwero has been withheld. This is a big problem because without rain, crops don't grow. When crops don't grow, people don't eat.
That night, we sat outside with the kids. Mr. Segun was outside working on the generator. His phone was playing music. Excitedly, Joseph ran over to him, took his phone, and brought it back to me so I could hear the music. I asked him to show me some of his dance moves so he did. Soon he was teaching me as the other kids watched and laugh. At the end of each dance, they said thank you. Before we knew, Sebastian and all the kids were up dancing with us. The sky turned black and lighting started brightening up the whole sky in a glorious display. We ran to the back of the house and danced like there was no tomorrow under a lighting sky as rain finally began to fall. It was probably my favorite moment out of the whole trip.
Uganda - After Note
If you read through my entire Uganda series, thank you. I had to edit and cut out a lot of past material as it was written three years ago when I was still very religious and very married. Feels like a lifetime ago and definitely seems like a different person wrote it.
That said, I'm releasing a new series about my divorce and how it took me to Greece. I learned so much about myself during that time and what it meant to be a strong confident person. Previous to my journey, I struggled with a lot of abuse. I allowed myself to be mistreated and torn down, mostly by the men in my life. But I also had women convincing me that being a noble wife or daughter meant that I had to endure this kind of treatment. Luckily, though, I had other people in my life teaching me to stand up for myself and love myself. This made a world of a difference and helped me change my life.
I decided to write this next blog series to explain what it took for me to stop being a victim and start building the life I wanted for myself and becoming the woman I was always destined to be. The beautiful country of Greece also played a huge role in helping me get there. Spending days at a pool side in Santorini and training in pole with world champions helped to escape life for a moment so I could become silent and hear myself think, made a world of a difference. I was able to finalize and recreate myself so that when I returned to LA, I was solidified in myself.
I hope this series can be a place of encouragement for anyone struggling to redefine themselves and build themselves into the person they always wanted to be.
As I mentioned in the previous blog, we had four little friends that quickly became our companions. Sandra (13), Wycliff (15), and Gilbert (23) also joined our little company and often served as our guides when we went on walks. The first time I explored the city, all seven of these kids went with me. We traveled through the village and played with some neighbor kids. On the way back, they took me through an Africa jungle filled with trees, birds, absolutely no houses, and a tiny dirt path. I definitely felt like an explorer. At first I greatly enjoyed our evening strolls through the villages. But as our walks got earlier and earlier during the day, I began to dread them. Nothing compares to the hot African sun beating down on you, especially when you're white.
But it was usually worth it. Wycliff, Sandra, Eric, Ivan and Gloria are all brothers and sisters. They lived down the street with their father who was good to them. But they hadn't seen their mother in over a year. After the parents divorced, the mother moved to the city and rarely ever saw the kids. The first time I walked with the kids, Gloria walked by my side the entire time. Near the end of the walk, she took my hand and held it the rest of the way. It was near dark by the time we got back. We went around the back of the house and sat down on the stools. Since we had a shortage of stools, little Gloria sat with me. In Luganda (the local language in Luwero), she told Moma and Auntie Rachael that I was like mom. And from that day on, that was who I was.
Later that week, the worship leader of the church walked into our house and started talking to me in Luganda. Sebastian and I nodded along, not understand, but one thing he said was abundantly clear. More than once he called me "Mama Alisa".
I figured he got this name because during church services, the children would sit on a tarp on the floor at the front of the church and entertain themselves as the pastor spoke. Our chairs were right next to the tarp. At first, the kids would be shy and look away if we caught them staring at us. Some of them would even stare us down with a pretty mean face. But, if you figured out the right facial expression to make at them, the mean face would melt away and quickly be replaced by a huge smile. By the end of the service, both Sebastian and I would have the kids surrounding us yelling excitedly, laughing, touching our hands and trying to catch our eye. One service, the pastor and elders actually moved from the pulpit to the middle of the room, cutting us out of the equation, so they could finish everything up. If we weren't a distraction before, we certainly became one later on.
I share this because this is what our mission became about. Whenever we tell someone that we were on a mission trip in Africa they always expect to hear about how we built something. When we reply that we did children's ministry, they're always surprised. Their expression gives away the thought, "Why would you go to another country to waste your time with children instead of building something useful that will last?"
The answer to that is easy. A child needs love and needs at least one chance in their lives to feel special. In a country where just about every child is an orphan and probably only has one parent, leaving a little love can make a huge difference. Of course the mission doesn't end there. Often times you do have to meet the physical so that you can reach the spiritual and emotional. That's why we intend to return to build a school so we can finish what we started. I want to encourage you too. Continue investing in the lives of the children God has placed you in. Even in America children undergo abuse and homelessness. Sometimes it's obvious and other times it's not. If you have a voice in the life of a child, be sure to use it. Kids need love everywhere, not just in Africa.
Uganda: Day 4 - Falling In Love
The next day I regained some strength. The number one thing I wanted to do was move around. As you know, bodies tend to get sore from lying in bed sick all day. I noticed one of the boys wandering around outside and decided to go join him. He looked at me a little surprised and curious as I walked outside and sat with him. I probably looked and sounded like a fool as I tried to communicate with him. But he smiled and seemed to enjoy the company. After a couple minutes of talking pretty much to myself, I decided there was only one thing left to do. I rushed back inside, changed out of my dress, put my pajamas back on and ran out back outside where he was waiting.
Now he was extra curious. I did a handstand and he got excited. I did a back bend and he got even more excited. Before I knew it, I was doing every trick I could think of and watched as he tried to mimic as many of them as he could. After each trick, he jumped up and down and laughed with glee. Soon a band of kids had come up to join us and Sebastian came out too. Before we knew it, we were having a party of flips, games and English lessons.
Joseph is the tumbler that did all the flips with me. He's 13 and a natural born performer. One night he spent thirty minutes rapping to me in Uganda. He did break eye contact once and his facial expressions and movements would make you think he was born to be on stage. He had three outfits (two of which were ripped and dirty). You could find him either in school or at the house with us cleaning the floor and helping to prepare our meals.
Eric, Ivan and Gloria were the ones who came to join us a little later. The three of them are siblings. Both Eric (12) and Ivan (9) were very quiet and shy at first. I think both Seb and I often confused the two of them during our first few days. We'd play games with them outside until it got hot and then Seb would teach them English and encourage them to go to school. Between all the kids, I honestly didn't connect with them at first. It wasn't until one night when we were all squished together on the couch that I finally got to them. How? The best method for connecting with any kid, a tickle fight.
Ivan would squeal in delight and bounce off the couch every time I tried to tickle him. He would even grab my hands to hold me back. But then Eric would come at me from the other side. When I turned to tickle him, he would curl up and laugh quietly as he endured the tickling. After that night, a bond had formed. I knew because a little later that night, the kids had gone outside to eat. I didn't see the point of sitting in the living room on a comfy couch eating if the party was outside so I went out to join them. The second I stepped out, both Ivan and Eric jumped off the chair they were sharing, got on their knees and told me to sit in their chair. I wish I could write more eloquently to describe that moment in better detail. I remember looking down on their little faces and nearly breaking into tears. I don't think any amount of words could summarize the love I felt in that moment.
Last but not least, we had our little one, Gloria. Early on, both Seb and I fell in love with this little eight-year-old. At first we thought she was shy, but soon we realized that wasn't the case at all. Gloria is feisty, excited, and full of spirit and laugh. At times she's even a little bossy. But it was impossible to not fall in love with this girl. She would say a word in Uganda and then silently mouth the word and watch my mouth as I tried to repeat it exactly the same say. If I got it wrong, she would laugh hysterically. But when I got it right, she was the proudest teacher in the world.
At first, both Seb and I day-dreamed about adopting her and taking her home with us. But soon we discovered Mr. Segun was her father (another person who often came by to help prepare for us). Once we realized how good of a father she had, we were happy. Nevertheless, we still agreed that she was our precious little one and had a special spot in our hearts.