Yesterday afternoon, A. Sarah and I took off on a walk to Kiwoko. We talked and laughed as we walked. We were headed to town to pick up some ingredients for the big dinner we were preparing. I kept looking over our shoulder... hoping to see a Boda Boda (motorcycle). Walking is nice and most practical. But when you are walking with someone who is 9 months pregnant and the sun is shining high in the sky..... a Boda Boda seems like the better option. And so when I saw the shadow of a Boda Boda against the horizon, I spoke last minute words to A. Sarah. "I'll meet you in Kiwoko" She wanted to share the ride.... but I laughed. A 9-month pregnant lady and myself on the back of a Boda Boda sprinting into town avoiding bumps and holes along the way was a stretch for me. I pulled out my Luganda and asked the man to return for me. And I kept walking watching A. Sarah disappear off into the distance. And I kept walking. Apparently my Luganda failed or the man got distracted because he never came back for me. It was no worries for me. It was just nice to walk along and absorb my surroundings. There were many to greet. Yes, out of formality. But for many of the kids, they were just wanting to greet the white person walking towards town. Some questioned my strength. Some just greeted and laughed as they passed. And some just looked. I kept walking. And eventually the hustle and bustle of Kiwoko was on the horizon. After a quick look, I found A. Sarah. She had waited patiently for me. We quickly met up with A. Rebecca at her shop. Two pregnant moms both due within weeks of each other. And in the process of their greetings... their bellies bumped....and we laughed. The babies within were sure to be Age-mates, Play-mates, and quite possibly would one day be classmates. We walked through town buying pork from the butcher, looking for Matooke, and in the end making sure we had a cold drink (aka Coca Cola for yours truly) to celebrate our hard work. And before we knew it, we were finished. We hopped Boda Bodas back home. The evening was FULL of fun times. The clinic staff joined together for an evening of cooking and eating. We laughed, we talked, and we laughed some more. We spent time encouraging two staff that were leaving and embracing two new staff who have joined our team recently. And we said goodnight...
This morning, Auntie Sarah found me as I was heading over to the admin building for a meeting. She told me she was in labor and after she said a bit more, I told her she needed to get to the hospital. From what she was sharing, it appeared the time had come. It was a moment of anticipation and excitement…
A few hours later, we received the news we were absolutely not expecting. The baby had not made it. We were stunned. I was stunned. The emotion of loss quickly found me. I struggled to digest the news. Hadn’t A. Sarah and I just talked in excitement the day earlier on our walk about the impending birth of her third child? And now he was gone. Yes, he. A little 3 kg boy.
Deborah and I reached the hospital shortly after 1 PM.
We greeted the father. We greeted the mother. And we remained.
We were taken into a room where the body of their boy lay. He was precious. And as we left that room, A. Deborah and I just embraced. There were very few words.
And so we sat. And we were present. And the tears came.
And to be honest, I don’t have many more words to share. I feel the tears seeping through. Tears of empathy and sadness. Tears of a season of goodness and hardness. Today as I walked through the maternity ward, I was flooded with so many memories already formed during my time here. It was only 16 months ago that A. Rebecca (mentioned above) gave birth to sweet baby Frank who later went home to heaven. Then there was the gift of being with A. Jalia as she welcomed her little Hannah into the world. And a short time later…. Being present with Caleb and Alair as baby Nora made her debut. Ah the memories. And today, another one was formed. Holding the hand of a sister as she begins the unanticipated journey of grief and deeper trust in her God. God’s got this and I cling to that with everything within me.