Wait…I’m white??

The trip to Busia was long, and adventurous. When we finally arrived to Nairobi, we stayed at a beautiful hostel made up of tents. There were two campfires, and we were given the best meal of the trip so far. On the bus to Busia, it was bumpy and long but praise the Lord I slept almost the whole way. The entire team was in much need of sleep.

We receieved a warm welcome by a couple of pastors at the border of Uganda where we were dropped off. As we waited for a car to pick us up, we heard the word "miszungu" all over. We were prepared for that word, it means white person essentially, but I don't think we were prepared for how much we would hear it. People were even taking pictures of us! I personally felt like I was in a zoo. I desired to blend in with the people but that was clearly not going to happen. Expectation number 1.

But I love how God works with our expectations and makes them better. Most people are very warm and friendly to us and continuously come up to us to shake our hands. And will continue doing so up to the time we leave I think.

The next morning, we were expecting to not have anything to do. Expectation number 2. But it did not take long for the neighboring kids to surround us as soon as we walked out of the door. Despite the fact that we have changed locations, those kids still find us.

While we were playing with those kids the first time, I did not have "my" African baby yet. But I saw this girl tenuously walk up to our group and I almost immediately claimed her. Her name is Natasha. She was wearing all pink. I was wearing my pink skirt so naturally we would be best friends.

It was not long until my leaders and teammates ushered me to this school down the road to play with children. This was not in the schedule. Which was fine with me because I had a blast. I would have 10 or 20 or 30 kids surrounding me, trying to hold my hand, climb on my back, playing with my hair, and looking up at me with their beautiful smiling faces expecting me to entertain them. I did not feel prepared for this but I did my best. I could hardly keep track of all the kids names. Sometimes it was Charles and sometimes it was a Swahili name that I could not for the life of me pronounce.

But when I looked up I saw those other kids that we had been playing with pressing their faces against the bars, and I could hardly concentrate on the kids in front of me. I felt my heart sink, and I felt like crying and running to them to teach them a game…something…anything to make them smile again.

But I gave the children in front of me my time, because I loved them as well. After an hour, maybe 2…I don't know because time hardly exists in Africa (the very reason I did not bother bringing a watch).

As we started walking towards the gate, some of the kids sat on the inside of the play area against the stone wall. I saw Natasha and called her name. She seemed startled that she was called, but she then jumped us and ran to me to hug me. Another child from earlier came to cling to my hand as well. I believe knowing that if I love one, then I must love them all. Which is so true. I walked with them and played with them a little while longer before we had to go inside.

I told them that I would be back later. But I was sad to realize that we were not going to go back out there for a while. I looked for her the next day, but I could not find her. And have not seen her since.

When I called her name, and she ran up to me, it reminded me of the story in the Bible about the prodigal son and how his father ran to him after he had squandered his inheritance (I felt more like the prodigal son because I felt like I had abandoned her). It reminded me about how God calls us each by name, because we are his children.

On another note, I am really excited to see how God works over and above my expectations (even when I seem to miss out of something because of it).

Grace and peace be yours in abundance.


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