Sunday, June 12, 2011

Preparing for our return

Because I'm lazy I'm using Wikipedia. 

Africa is the world's second-largest and second most-populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² (11.7 million sq mi) including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area.[2] With 1.0 billion people (as of 2009, see table) in 61 territories, it accounts for about 14.72% of the world's human population.

As you can imagine the blurb goes on and if you want to read more just click to the internet's encyclopedia of choice, but it makes for boring reading.  What it should say is....'Africa, the world's most incredible and diverse continent remains tribal and beautiful.  Strange and elegant wildlife roam the last remaining plains.  The weather is hot, cold, humid, wet, dry, scorching.  The vivid landscapes snatch your breath away.  There is death and disease, crime and corruption.  There are people and tiny little children everywhere.  Poverty runs hand in hand with extreme and opulent wealth, but what touches your heart and draws you in is the extended hand of friendship and the wide smiles of love.'  

Chris, Leo and I return to Uganda in 14 days time.

We're gradually getting all of our shit stuff together.  I never realised that 1 small baby could account for 3,000 bags worth of luggage, it's astonishing.  During the week we bought every single item on Amazon that was listed under tents, baby and hand blenders.  This was a feat in itself considering we only ever thought Amazon dealt in music and books.  Sadly my credit card is feeling the squeeze.  For example we now have EIGHT tents to lug back to Uganda with us, including a tiny bag of solar fairy lights (fair's fair is what I told Chris as my card hit meltdown).

I've tried not to think about our departure too much, but as the hours roll by I can't ignore the feeling that's like a knot in my stomach - we're taking our longed for baby to Africa and am I ready for that?'s easy to distract yourself with other things when you need to.  My dad has compared it to 'bringing home the FA Cup', in as much as it's going to be exciting and thrilling, but without the double-decker touring bus.  Having been in the UK for 9 emotional months I've been surrounded by beautiful and loving friends and family, but I realise we can't live with Leo in a bubble forever.  For starters the tiny bubble will one day pop and the other imminent, looming prospect is we need to start earning money.  And soon.

In the past we've thrown a bag together, not given our destination a second thought and hopped onto a plane, bish, bash, bosh and au revoir.  It's daunting to think of returning with Leo (who will then be 12 weeks) to a country that sits on the Equator and is as lush as the Garden of Eden.   I've several friends who have successfully birthed and bought up healthy babies of their own out there, but this baby, my baby is just too damn special to not consider going mad over.  Are we being reckless and selfish to put him in what one could consider harm's way?  I don't think so.  I also know I can't envelope him in cotton wool, or a suit of armour and I can't prevent him from leaving my arms, but I will go all out to make sure he's as protected as we can make him from malaria, disease and sickness. 

However I know he will have the most incredible upbringing out there under the great African sky.  He'll be surrounded by love and warmth, friends, freedom, adventure and challenges.  The life I had hoped for us to have with Ella will hopefully be mirrored in the life we have with Leo.  The excitement we feel at showing him a part of the world that has become a second home to us is important - it's where he was conceived and it's where his sister's ashes flow through the Nile.  I will be holding back the tears as we board the plane on Sunday 26th June, but I know that my heart is bound by what I leave behind in England and what I return to in Uganda. 

My son will know both and with it his own heart will glow golden.

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