I apologize for not writing until now. It was just too early! In truth, I couldn't write. I would've said some unfavorable things about the trip.
A bit of background first: on day 11, on the way home from the resort, on the home stretch of our ride, the bus hit a bump in the road. The roads in Uganda are not particularly known for their smoothness (someone read in the paper that a senator hoping to be elected promised that there would be no potholes in Uganda by the next three years. Everyone laughed at that premise- someone said "there's a guy that really wants to be elected").
Anyway, this bump was particularly bad, and we hit it at a pretty quick speed. Everyone went flying, particularly the younger ones. And then, Kaitlin hit her head. It was a frightening display.
Have you ever seen someone in shock? It's particularly frightening. You cannot help but panic yourself.
So, she hit her head and pinched a nerve. She could hardly move, in lots of pain...
No real damage. At that point she didn't lose any memory and could wiggle her fingers and toes. But she still needed to be hospitalized. Except, there wasn't any 911. It took us about a half hour to get an ambulance and another fifteen minutes to actually get her to a hospital; then another fifteen to get her out of the bus.
So, an hour. If it was serious, there could've been quite a bit of damage...
And the thought of that is scary.
That affected me. Sitting outside of the hospital, I heard a pretty alarming noise. It wasn't coming from the hospital; it was coming from a lot beside the hospital.
It was a kid screaming. And it was by far the most horrid noise I have ever heard.
It wasn't crying-screaming. It was screaming, out of desperation.
It wasn't even discernable whether the child was a boy or a girl.
It was just... scary, really. You don't hear screaming like that in the states, save for horror movies.
Actually, you don't even hear it in the horror movies. It was that bad...
It was a noise I failed to get out of my head for about an hour. It was perhaps the worst hour of my life.
You don't hear that in the states. In the states, no matter what this child has been through, turn on channel eleven and there isn't a worry in the world.
No, whatever was happening to this child that caused him/her to scream like that must've been traumatic. This is the sort of thing that happens to children that causes them to... not smile.
And that actually affected me more.
It's scary in Uganda. I won't lie and say it isn't. I still think it is.
In all honesty, I left thinking that I didn't like it there. And that isn't a good feeling, really... It just felt unsafe.
I've had time to think about it now. I decided not to blog on it until now so I wouldn't say anything I didn't mean (lord knows I don't want to offend my sponsors).
I'm looking at it just a bit more realistically now...
Jake Kirchner said that when you go to Africa your heart is in Africa.
I doubted it then, but know it now.
A lot earlier in the trip I talked to Gene. I was struggling a lot with what I was seeing and our talk really helped, but he said one thing that stuck with me:
"It's not a matter of leaving Africa or staying in Africa. You can find a balance... God has you here for a reason, and I don't think he'll have you rip up your passport."
I did not rip up my passport. I made it all the way home (this time, with less problems with security).
I do not regret a thing, either.
I'll write more on days 10-12, post my pictures, and write a bit of reflection later. Don't let me forget.