I got the call around 7 a.m. when I was not yet fully ready for the day. Yeah, I’d been up since 5 a.m., but basic daily hygiene had not yet happened.
“Now? Today? Ok, I am on my way. How long do you think she has?”
Hmmm, not enough time for a shower. Priorities. Brush the teeth and put on something decent for village public.
I made it to the front gate within 10 minutes, but instead of heading on out the gate and down the road I stopped when I saw Medi walking from the main road toward me. I was confused.
I stuck my head and my arm out of the van window and gestured, “Whaaaat?”
“She decided she’s not ready yet.”
I gave him a quick tutorial in the progression of labor pains and how to know when to call me again. I emphasized that this is her 5th pregnancy and she could quickly progress. That coupled with her tendency to wait until the very last moment before heading to the hospital could mean I might have to deliver a baby in the van. Not planning on doing that today. (The first time I ever transported Medi and his wife to the hospital for delivery was about eight years ago and she had a brand new baby girl within 20 minutes of our arrival to the maternity ward.)
We parted and I returned home to shower and to begin working on school with the kids. I only had time to shower before he called, “We’re ready now.” Off I went.
From home to the hospital was a straight shot. I pulled directly in front of labor and delivery and walked with them into the labor “suite” in time to hear the nurse announce that because they hadn’t brought their own Kavera (large garbage bag) that they would have to pay 3000 shillings. She spread it out on the bed and Joyce prepared to climb up for examination.
Medi suggested I leave, with comments regarding something about a mazungu’s (white person’s) presence being a detriment to smooth interaction with the nurses.
Happy to be already heading back home and potentially able to accomplish much for the kids’ school I left with a smile.
My first detour was just a few feet past the exit gate when I saw off to the left a wave and a holler in my direction from inside the hospital fence. My friend Florence lit up excitedly as I stopped and we did our best to catch up on the past few months while my van boldly blocked the small dirt road leading from the hospital to the village center. Aaahhh, what a joy to see long time friends again!
With the van moving again toward point B I dodged potholes and maneuvered away from loose rock contemplating whether or not to stop to buy some local bread. While pausing to check my empty wallet a shadow filled the drivers’ side window and I startled to find the smiling face of another long time friend and former co-worker. We spent a few minutes sharing news and tidbits of our families before moving on.
It seemed I now might make a sure straight shot home. Nope. I noticed one of our young adults walking to work at our Musana FM radio station. I offered a ride and made a U-turn back to the radio.
Another U-turn sent me homeward, but only a 1/4 km up the road I saw the woman who gardens next to our plot coming from her land. I hadn’t yet seen her since we returned from the states and a quick visit was in order.
As she and I finished speaking a pedestrian passed by—I had driven past him no less than four times already that hour and we laughed that I surely could have given him a ride at some point during my journeys.
Moving again I miraculously clipped off most of the balance of the winding road to New Hope before I came upon one of our girls who grew up with us, taught for our primary school for awhile and was now on her own in Kampala. Her sweet demeanor encouraged me to not worry about time or agenda, but just enjoy those God puts in my path.
Finally arriving at the main entrance I informed the watchman that I had taken Medi and Joyce to the hospital and told him there would soon be a new baby to rejoice over. I then proceeded past the gate.
Not even two minutes from my front door, I still wasn’t home without one more stop. Rounding the corner toward my driveway I glimpsed a big smile and hands full of builder’s tools slowing to greet me. It was our dear Kambo heading to a job for the day. Every encounter with Kambo brings a smile and I didn’t want to miss receiving such so we talked for a few minutes.
Thinking I was now assured of completing my trek to point B, I rolled forward only to be flagged down by Kakande who wanted to know if I was going to take him somewhere. Honestly, I was tempted by his oversized, expectant smile, but no. It was home for me.
I love that it is pretty much NEVER a straight shot from point A to point B in our beautiful village community.
Thanks for reading, Mary
Thanks for reading, Mary