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.