The past month feels like a whirlwind. We are sitting in the Entebbe airport, eating samosas and drinking coke (with sugar, not high-fructose corn syrup) out of glass bottles and waiting for our flight to Doha, Qatar, which leaves tonight at 6:30 pm. Alex points out that the Entebbe airport seemed pretty run-down when we first came through (the power just went out as I was typing that sentence), but after 3 weeks in Yei it feels like NASA HQ. Currently we are sitting at the café and he is explaining to us the difference between, jacked, ripped, cut and shredded. I can’t tell if this is about working out or violent crimes. The flight is about 7 hours, and we are hoping the kids will be wiped out enough to sleep for a few of those. We only have an 8 hour layover (midnight to eight am), so no airport hotel this time through; our plan is to pay for pool access only, which means we will be able to swim with the kids, Alex will be able to lift at the gym, and we will be able to take showers in the locker rooms; everything we need except a place to actually sleep, which neither of the children made use of last time anyway. After that it’s just a 15 hour daytime flight to Dallas with Aubrey and Caleb in our laps. Can’t wait.
Alex just called somebody on instagram a “monster” and said he must be taking drugs. It could still go either way.
It’s been an eventful few days since our last weekend. I finished my last day of call at His House of Hope Hospital on Saturday to cap a final week on maternity. It has been 3 weeks of deliveries, c-sections (both performing the surgeries and helping to teach and assist the senior CO’s. Dinya, on of the CO’s that has been here the longest, did his first case from start to finish, or “skin to skin,” on Friday night), OB ultrasound, pre-term deliveries and newborn care, malaria, typhoid, very sick children, death and mourning, recovery and hope, tea at 10, lots of teaching and arguably more learning. I am returning to the relatively quiet life of supervising interns at Hillcrest Hospital (trips like this sure give you perspective), while the hospital goes on and new people come in. On Saturday Dr. Perry’s friend Dr. John Waits came, and brought two of his residents from Cahaba Family Medicine Residency in Centreville, Alabama. My final day’s responsibility consisted of orienting the new residents to the hospital. At the end they seemed a bit shell-shocked, like I was on my first day less than a month ago. It was good closure.
Outside of the hospital, we tried to cram as much into our last week as possible. Alex walked to town several times and made friends with a group of Boda drivers (apparently they are some sort of mix between a motorcycle gang and a taxi company). The younger Perry girls had a slumber party with Aubrey on Saturday. We followed this with a game night on Sunday and a dinner with just us, Alex, Jeff and Elizabeth on Monday while the Perry kids watched Aubrey and Caleb. The Perrys are coming home in April for home assignment (the term furlough has fallen out of favor, since long-term missionaries are generally travelling and working hard while back in the States), and we are excited that we’ll get to see them again in a few months, instead of 2 years.
This morning we had a special birthday breakfast for Given, who turned 8 years old. We were delighted to bring a Doc McStuffins toy with us from the U.S. as a special surprise present from us and her parents. After that we loaded up the landrover and half the family drove us the 30 minutes to the airport on the other side of Yei. A note on logistics; our plane was scheduled to depart at 8 am, but Elizabeth insisted on us leaving from their house at 9:20! We got to the small building, unloaded our bags, checked in, stamped out of the country, and went through customs in time to walk out and watch the plane land at 10:22 am. We waved goodbye and got our small plan back to Entebbe. The mood was a bit somber; 3 weeks just isn’t enough time to live around people like the Perrys and Loftus’s and the rest of the team there at Harvesters, and work at a place like His House of Hope Hospital. We all felt like we could have stayed another month at least.
We’ll likely be writing more in the next few weeks about our time in South Sudan, as we process the trip and think about the future. Perhaps the most wonderful thing has been watching the kids go from being scared of everything to feeling comfortable and at home in that small missionary compound in the heart of East Africa. Just now Aubrey told us, “I want to go back to our house in Africa!” Please pray with us that when the time comes, we would be faithful in following God’s call to make those words a reality.