Connection is something that is seemingly impossible here. Yesterday was a difficult day and I wanted to take it personally but really it isn’t about me. You see I was returning from taking Parker to ballet and she had fallen asleep I pulled into the prison and headed to the football pitch. There was one more match to be played and so I pulled into the makeshift parking area and instantly I was overwhelmed. Every single man turned and stared at me and not just a quick glance to see who had just arrived. It was uncomfortable, but not anything I hadn’t experienced before. I was coming to watch, not because I loved football, but because these were my people. I waited in the car as I didn’t want to wake Parker and as I waited slowly the heads turned back to the start of the match. As I waited a young girl and her friend start coming closer and start circling the car, they just stare and chuckle. It seems harmless after all they are just kids, but then it makes me feel like a protective momma. I go to the mental place where Parker has been made to feel uncomfortable because children stare at her, try and touch her, and she cries feeling overwhelmed. Eventually we all are watching the match and Jacob finds it all a bore so he starts to read (his rather large book “The BFG”) and just minds his own business reading. I look over and slowly more and more kids are sitting close to him and just staring for an uncomfortable amount of time just staring.
I had time to reflect and process but in the moment I was feeling overwhelmed, isolated, alone, uncomfortable, protective. When I had more time to think about it, sadness was my next feeling. I felt sad because I remember when we had our three boys with us and they behaved the same way. Quiet, disconnected and unable to relate to things that are different. I thought of how kids that are at the international school setting are much different they are “cultured”. Students that have come into contact with a variety of races and cultures. They don’t feel uncomfortable making friends who are different and they don’t act amazed at the little things (like reading a book).
I think about how long it takes to form bonds with people here about how most everyone I encounter doesn’t know me. It is hard to cope at times when you feel like you don’t have any friends who understand. This past week though I was reminded on my birthday that it took almost 10 years for me to form a bond that was authentic with the boys now men who have been in our lives here in Uganda. But in the same breath we have so many cases of people we thought we had a connection with who turned out to be nothing but counterfeits. In the 3.5 years of being here we have made so many great friends and they too have moved. It is exhausting to always feel like no one knows you and the ones that you open up to and connect with leave.
I think the hardest thing I find here is that my friends that I love so dearly back home I have to follow on Facebook. Friends have to follow me too and then it becomes such a hard thing when we do visit for such short amounts of time to “catch up”. I don’t want to catch up I want to literally just pop over to my friend’s house and just hangout and talk about currently life and not “Hey, how is life been over the past year?”
This is me. This is my current state. I am processing. I am exhausted. I am ready to be home with family for Christmas. I am ready to pop over to a friend’s house and not talk about life as a missionary and just hangout. Anybody want me?