A journal entry from February 8, 2016, recounting our move out of Ikland:
Thursday morning, February 5, I intended to have one last glorious quiet time in pristine Timu nature. But just after sitting down on my boulder, G padded up behind me and sat down beside me. My heart sank. Without asking, he picked up my journal and started reading. I reached over and took it away from him. Then he brought up a sore topic…so much for my quiet time!
At 9:00 a.m., a stream of people came wanting either medicine or ‘goodbye presents’. Amber was walking back and forth catering to their requests. I was in the guard-hut trying to wrap up dictionary work with my men, but there were so many interruptions, we shifted to the picnic table at the far side of the house. By noon, I had got through all my definition checks but not the plural noun forms. But I decided I probably have a sufficient number and coverage to be able to predict the other plural forms I haven’t elicited directly. Plus, I was dying to share a meaningful good-bye with my old men. So we stopped the work officially and I explained that we were leaving and the reasons why. I told them I will miss them, and they said they’ll miss me too. I gave them some gifts and extra money. I told them that even though many would have seen them as useless, being poor, blind, and old, they have done a great work. Their names will be written in a book and remembered forever. We exchanged kind words and were all really happy. It was a blessed time.
After their final lunch with us, they left, and we started a more frantic effort to pack up. At 4:00 p.m., we loaded more of the R’s stuff and drove to D’omok for a final time of fellowship with them. On the way to D’omok, we passed none other than L.S. walking alone. As we approached, he stopped, turned toward us in what looked like an act of respectful acknowledgment. I greeted him as we passed, and he responded. I don’t know what it all means…
Back at home later that evening, we put on a movie for the girls as we worked very, very hard to finish all that we had to do. I worked outside dismantling the playground until 8:00 p.m. Finally, at 10:30, we crashed into bed, exhausted. We got up at 5:15, and by 6:15, we were on our way.
In terms of emotions, Amber and I were mostly numb. Over the last week I had had an occasional twinge of nostalgia, but nothing so strong as to make me regret leaving. We were very ready to go. As we drove away Friday morning, I had no emotions whatsoever, neither sadness nor elation, neither regret nor excitement. It was just what it was. And so, as another day dawned, we drove down out of one chapter of our lives into another.
In Kaabong, we headed over to the Baptist mission and unloaded everything except what was strapped to our roofrack. Then we reloaded things destined for Alice [the girls’ mother]. We drove into town and stopped to say goodbye to some shopkeepers. Then we found Alice at the market and drove her to her home where we put her food. She had been complaining of hunger for quite some time, so when we presented all the bulk foodstuff, I told her, “No more hunger!” We visited with her for a few minutes and then said goodbye…
Back at the mission, in the afternoon Amber and I took naps. I slept from 2:30-5:30; this was intentional since we had decided to drive all night to Kampala. Though intended, it was not guaranteed, so when I dragged myself out of bed at 6:00 p.m., I was grateful for the gift of rest. I went up to the upper house and got the truck all packed up with Amber’s help; then we pulled out o f the compound at 9:15. We had the girls all set up to sleep…and sleep they did, all night, from about 9:45 to 7:15 a.m. – it was incredible.
Amber caught some sleep here and there but not much. I drove and drove and drove, with a cup of tea before we left and a second, albeit cold one, around Abim. I was doing really well at first, but the road through Amuria was really rough and took it out of me. Then, between Soroti and Mbale, about 4:00 a.m., the sleepiness hit me full force. I fought a miserable battle with drowsiness from 4-8 a.m. Finally it got light, and we stopped at IGAR [fuel station and restaurant] in Jinja for some breakfast and caffeine! It was there I spotted in the menu the option of “IGAR’s Full Breast Fast” – no thank you!
By 11:00 a.m., we pulled into the Hodges’ place in Makindye, the location of our new home now for an unknown period of time. Later Amber and I took rather desperate naps of two hours and then headed over to the BMU to have supper with friends we hadn’t seen since last November….