Travel day 3 (Nov.28th)

We woke up surprisingly not tired, we realized we had actually all slept all night long.  Wow.  Ok, that was a surprise.  In our room in the guesthouse there is only one queen size bed, so the three of us were all sleeping in the same bed.  We were expecting to wake up SEVERAL times in the night with Lucas-Rogers.  He surprised us and slept well.  He was still sleeping when I woke up, Roger was awake, laying there starring at us.  Sweet moment.  We smiled at each other.  We are here, next to our little boy.  We are blessed.

After breakfast, yep-more red sausage and eggs, we had a long day ahead of us.  We had to make the drive to the town where court was, about a 4-7 hour drive, depending on rain and traffic.  See, roads are not paved and potholes are HUGE and you have to dodge them, and if it rains that means bigger potholes and more mud.  Of course it was raining that morning.  Great.

Yeah, those are the roads in Kampala…

Well, first we needed to go to our lawyer’s office to review the hearing in court tomorrow.  We arrive at his office, prepared to hear what we need to know for court.

Outside our lawyer’s office.

That went well, he feels good about our case.  Our lawyer, Isaac, gave us paperwork that we needed to take to the Embassy so they could get the investigation started on Lucas-Rogers background, which is typical.  The Embassy is part of the United States, it’s basically like a last stop before the children who are being adopted leave the country, last line of defense so to speak, from unethical adoptions, etc.  The Embassy is where they approve your adoption-saying that this child is definitely adoptable/an orphan/etc. and that they approve you to adopt him, and then they issue Lucas a Visa.  A visa is a stamp in his passport saying that he is able to leave the country with you as his parents.  The Visa also includes a sealed packet of documentation that you take to the United States upon arrival in the first U.S. airport immigration station you enter.  This process to get a visa can take a while.  So getting the paperwork turned in from our lawyer early gives us an advantage to get the visa quicker, and they could begin the investigation earlier, so by the time we get back from court and turn in our ruling to them they *might* have it completed by then.  That’s the hope anyway.  But, at least the paperwork is in their hands and we have met and introduced ourselves, especially so they could meet Roger since he has to leave that Friday.  So sad, can’t think about Roger leaving yet.

Here is the outside of the Embassy:

Also while at the Embassy we had to get the “blue” form, in other words, the IOM Medical Form for Lucas.  The Embassy requires a medical (a physical) from the doctor at the IOM Medical clinic, they also do a TB (tuberculosis) under the skin test to see if he has active TB.  They can’t leave the country if they have active TB until it is treated for several weeks/months.  We know that Lucas is negative because while he was in foster care we paid for him to get medical treatment and tests done and his had come back negative already.  Thank the Lord.  Another reason we put him in foster care is because when he was at the orphanage he was sick, he could have had TB and we didn’t know why he was sick at the time, and in order for us to leave the country with him he needed to be treated so we wanted to get him as well as possible as soon as we could.  We are so glad we got him medical treatment as soon as we could.  He was healthy and doing fine by the time we got there, and I know he felt a world better!

After the Embassy, we went back to the guesthouse to gather our suitcases, orphanage donations, etc. so we could begin the long drive to the town where court is, Mbarara.  The rain stopped!  Yay!  Our driver, Steven, had to take the car to get a little something worked on before our long drive.  No biggie.  He comes back an hour or so later, and away we go!  The drive from Kampala to Mbarara is beautiful!  Uganda is very different when you get out of the city of Kampala!  Fresh air, green, green, green!!  Beautiful!  Now this is the beauty of Uganda!  We enjoyed the drive, windows down, cool breeze blowing through the car, sleeping boy in our arms.  joyfully relaxing.

That is…until…about 3 hours into the drive.  It is just barely beginning to get a little gray in the sky, sun going down, and we are one hour away from Mbarara.  We come to a police stop.  We stop after hours of rolling down the road, and they peer into the car.  I’m nervous.  There are about 5 of them, and they all have loaded shotguns.  Ok, wow.  What are they looking for?!  Steven just said this is normal, they are looking for bombs.  Uh, ok.  He looks us all over, they check the trunk.  They wave us on through.  Phew!  Steven starts the car.  It won’t start.  Hmm.  Tries again.  It won’t start.  Ok, this might not be good.  Tries again.  Smoke comes from the hood.  It WON’T start.  OH NO.  They push us off to the side of the road.  Oh no.  Oh no.  I’m starting to freak out.  Steven gets out and looks under the hood, smoke POURS out.  Oh my gosh.  This is NOT good.  Roger gets out to offer help, against my advice.  There are 5 Ugandan “police” man with shotguns and here goes an obvious NOT Ugandan getting out of the car.  “Get back in the car” I want to yell.  Wendy is silent.  I know she’s worried too.  Steven gets water from the trunk and pours in somewhere under the hood.

Steven closes the hood.  They get back in the car.  Steven tries to start it.  It doesn’t start.  He waits, tries again.  IT STARTS!!   Yahoooo!!!   Alright…we’re on the move!  Steven tells us that the radiator has a crack in it, and that before we left Kampala he was getting that crack filled and fixed.  He was told in Kampala that it was fixed and good to go.  Well, it did hold up, but now the OTHER side of the radiator got a crack in it!  Oh no.  So Steven said that he was gonna try and make it to Mbarara and then get a new radiator when we got there.  See, we are in the middle of NO WHERE.  No towns close by, nothing.  We just passed one about 20 min. back, but he thinks he could make it Mbarara.

We are going down the road, and 15 min. down the road, smoke comes pouring out of the hood again…we’re driving.  Steven pulls over.  Oh this isn’t good.  The sun is getting lower and lower.  Not good.  We are sooooo frustrated.  Steven is upset.  We’re all just silent.  There is nothing anyone can do, he pours more water on it, same drill, eventually we get started again.  Steven gets on the phone with our friend and his boss, Godfrey.  He tells him to go to the nearest town and get it fixed.  We drive 20 min. back to the town we passed, pull into town and Steven tells us to roll up the windows, and don’t get out of the car.  Oh this isn’t good.  Ok.  Lucas-Rogers is starting to get restless.  We have to pee.  Bad.  We hold it.  Entertain Lucas and pray that we get this fixed fast.  It’s getting dark now.  We are obviously not in the safest part of Uganda!  We are told 10 min. 10 min. 10 min. it will be fixed.  Steven is frustrated, poor guy.  About 45 min. later, we’re on the road again.  It’s fixed!  Yay!!!  Ok, now if we can just make it to Mbarara.  It’s grey-dark now.  We pull up to that police check again, oh please don’t stop, please don’t stop, they recognize us and we roll on through.  Thank God.

We’re on a roll now! Phew.  Alright, 40 min. from Mbarara now.  30 min. from Mbarara now.  Uh…what’s that?!  uh…we see smoke.  Smoke!  OH NO!   NO NO NO.   Then “POP”, something sprays all over the windshield, and SMOKE ROLLS OUT under the hood.   I cry frustrated silent tears.  This is HORRIBLE.  What on earth are we going to do now.  The car is done for.  It’s pitch black.  We’re Americans in the middle of no where in Uganda, Africa with our new little boy who is DONE being in the car.   Roger and Steven get out and look it over.  The car is broke down.  Steven walks up to the house on the side of the road and asks for water.  They don’t understand each other.  We are in Ankole land.  See, Uganda is cut up into areas of Kingdoms.  Example:

Kampala, the capital, is in Buganda.  Where Lucas-Rogers is from is Ankole.  Where we are broken down at is in Ankole land.  Ankole and Buganda speak two completely different languages.  It’s like English to Spanish, or English to Luganda (the language the people of Buganda speak).  So they don’t understand each other.  So when Steven was trying to get help, they didn’t understand him, and they come to the car and see us, Americans-“mzungu” as they call “white people”, and they can’t understand Steven’s language, they begin to get a little scared of us.  So they give Steven some water and leave.  Alright, so we’re hours from anyone to help us in Kampala, and we’re not in any place for anyone to help us.  We have no idea what to do.  Steven calls Godfrey.  He immediately leaves and is on his way to us with a new car, and a mechanic.  But it will be hours before he is there.  We can’t stay on the side of the road here.  Steven is scared.  We are all worried and begin brainstorming.  I think of who I know that is coming to Mbarara…Isaac!  Our lawyer Isaac!  He is from Ankole/Mbarara and has got to have family/friends in Mbarara!  Steven calls him.  He is on a bus coming to Mbarara.  Isaac starts making phone calls and calls a friend of his.  His friend charges a crazy amount, but does come out to get us!  We are just trusting this person because he don’t have any idea where we are, where our hotel in Mbarara is or who this person is, but we have no choice.  We get in the man’s car, and thankfully he drives us safely to the Acacia Tree Hotel in Mbarara.  Thank you Jesus.  We made it.  We had to leave our luggage behind in the old car and just grabbed our court clothes and bag from and we hoped Steven would be ok.  We were nervous to leave him.  After calling Steven, and checking on him a few times, we fell asleep, trying to mentally shift gears to focus on court the next morning.

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