Travel Day 1 (Nov.26th)

We are TIRED.

We have been on a plane for the past 2 days.  Tired.  Tired.  Tired.

We arrived in Kampala, Uganda, at midnight, which was an hour and a half later than we were expected to arrive.  We were so tired, but the min. we stepped off the plane we got a rush of excitement.  As we were walking off the plane we realized there is no gate to pull up to our plane, but just huge stairs coming down from our huge international airbus A-340 to the ground, on the tarmac.  We are immediately hit with humidity!  It’s HOT and sticky humid, and it’s midnight.  Oh boy, the days are gonna be HOT here.  First thought: I brought long sleeves mostly (to keep mosquitoes from biting me) and I’m gonna roast here!  Oh well.  We’re in UGANDA!!!!   🙂  So excited.  We were following the crowd towards the airport and almost got hit by a luggage loader truck, oh my gosh…ok, well THIS is different….but we’re in UGANDA!!!!  YAY!!!

So we get inside, and follow everyone into a line, we see signs that we are in line for a Visa to enter the country.  Ok, well this is where we need the $50 each in US Dollars, and our yellow fever vaccination card: check!  We’re ready!  We are asked how long we will be in the country and why we are here.  We told them we are adopting and we will be there approx. 6 weeks (Roger one week) and they stamped our passport: UGANDA, and they took our money, didn’t even look at our yellow fever card, and pushed us on through.  Ok, well that was easy enough.  So we go to baggage claim, half way expecting some part of our baggage to be missing.  Right away, in a row, there are our bags!!  Oh my gosh!  Ok!  They’re all here!!  We get a cart, load it on and away we go towards customs.  Oh customs.  Oh no.  What do we do now?!  There is a guy standing there and asked us what’s in our bags, we tell him clothes, donations, baby things, etc. and we have so much baggage I can tell he doesn’t want to take the time to open it all up, and he waves us on through.  Haha!  Awesome!  So then we walk out into the open pickup area, outside the doors are a HUGE CROWD of Ugandans….oh no.  Just what my dad had warned me about.  Stay away from crowds, especially at the airport, you’re a target.  Watch your purse, your belongings.  Oh I’m nervous.  I don’t see a sign with our name on it!  Oh no.  We stop and don’t go any further.  We look around, and my cousin Wendy spots it!  There!  There’s a sign that says “Erin/Roger Bell”  with a very tired looking arm holding up the sign.  Roger goes outside to introduce himself.  Steven is the very tired fellow who had been waiting an hour and half for us to arrive, standing, holding up a sign the whole time.  There aren’t screens in this airport to let anyone know of arrivals like there are in America, you just wait outside for arrivals.  Fun.  Poor guy.  I felt bad for him.  He still tiredly smiled and welcomed us to UGANDA!  Sweet man.  He helped us with all our bags and maneuvering through the big crowd of people.  I knew we were in good hands and would be the whole time we were in Uganda.  Phew!  We find the car, and our luggage and us barely BARELY fit in the car, lol.  After about an hour drive in the dark to our guesthouse we take in the smells, and the dark sights in the night of our glimpse of Uganda.  Music, people walking everywhere, not many lights, humidity, random goats on the side of the road, motorcycles with people riding on them (later to find out these are called “BodaBodas”).  Wow…can’t wait to see it in the daytime!  We’re in AFRICA!  We’re in Uganda!  We’re in the same city as our new little boy!!!   We meet him tomorrow!!!!!!

We finally arrive at the guesthouse, there is a gate we have to have someone open to get in.  There is barbed wire at the top.  Ok.  Wow.  An older man opens the door, we are greeted by Olivia (the woman who runs the guesthouse) in her nightgown, and she shows us to our room.  She speaks English, this is good.  She’s very sweet.  We get into the house, and into our room.  There is no power.  It’s pitch black.  Oh my gosh.  I wasn’t expecting this.  The older man, Julius, turns on some kind of generator to get power on for us, it comes on, just barely, the power is weak.  It’s hot.  So hot.  Ok, I can do this.  I can do this, I keep saying that to myself.  I guess I just expected at the very least we would have power the whole time.  I wasn’t prepared.  Everything is different, I mean I “knew” it would be different obviously, but it is just an experience as a sheltered American that was overwhelming for me, it was not what I expected.  We thank Olivia and Julius and get settled into the room and into bed.  We are so tired, but a little scared.  We hear wild dogs roaming and howling, and fighting.  One starts screeching in pain.  Oh my gosh!  This is awful.  I start crying in shock, I’m in culture shock.  I feel so bad for being so upset, but when you first experience something completely out of your comfort zone for the first time it’s an emotional experience, let’s face it, I’m emotional as it is already anyway-tomorrow we meet our little boy!  As emotional and in shock as I am, Roger calms me down and tells me to close my eyes and imagine we are home and it’s the stupid big dog in our neighbors yard barking, ok that helps.  We are sooo tired….and we drift off to sleep…

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