A large portion of this week has been saying good-bye to the people we have met here in Uganda. Early this week I said fare well to many of the people at the diocesan offices. These good-byes were not easy since I have not spent much time in offices in the last four weeks. So it was a bit of a surprise to some when I was saying good-bye.
Thursday night we were blessed to have Bishop Katoneene and his wife to our home for dinner. It was good to meet in a more informal setting and to spend some time with the Bishop when we both weren’t being pulled in many directions at once. We are truly going to miss wisdom and his sense of humour.
The last few days have been busy and emotionally draining. Our schedule became increasingly busy and we have said most of good byes in the last 48 hours. We spent yesterday morning saying good-bye to our friends in town. We’ve spent a lot of time during our stay here with a couple of women in the market and the town’s veterinary officer. They all wanted us to stay and visit for a while, but we were also on a tight schedule. So all our visits seemed far too short.
Part of the reason we needed to rush home was we needed to greet our friends from All Saints Ishaka who were coming to visit. They have truly blessed us with their hospitality. The parishioners from Ishaka went out of their way to greet us when we arrived. They were the first to invite us to their parish and have tried to maintain contact the entire time we have been here. They also made sure to send some people to send us off as well. We tried to return some of the hospitality we have received by treating them to so Canadian baking (spice cookies, mango/banana cookies and orange/cinnamon bread).
Today we also said good-bye to the people at Greater Bushenyi. Again we have been moved by their hospitality while we have been here. They have certainly tried to involve us in the life of the parish. Some of the parishioners stopped by throughout the afternoon and one even brought us a nice gift that we will be sharing with you when we get home.
The hardest good byes though have really been are friends here at the Mother’s Union Centre. We know once we walk through the Mother’s Union gate that we are at home. Lillian, Kellen, Carolyn, and Ellen have particularly blessed us during our time here. They are the people we have spent the most time with by far and we spend a fair bit of time talking with them most days. They have treated us more like friends than guests, which has been truly special for us. Many Ugandans treat us like Mazungu (see the earlier post of being a Mazungu for what I mean), but these women have treated us like equals and invited us into their lives and their homes. We are also going to miss Earnest, Ellen’s Son. We have spent many an evening kicking around a football (soccer ball) with him, much to his delight. We are going to miss his smiles and laughter, although we still can’t understand a word he says…
We have been struck on all fronts by the number of times we have been asked, “when are you coming back?” The question is always asked as if our return is not a matter of ‘if’, but ‘when’. People in the diocese and in the individual parishes are very keen to continue corresponding with us and would even like to write to some of the parishes back home. The people here are eager to hear more from the brothers and sisters in Christ, who live in Canada. It will be interesting to see what God has in store in future of all of our lives.