Time has drawn to an end so we all decided to go out with a “Big Birthday Bash Bang”! Ha, sorry, I couldn’t help it, I love alliteration. Anyway…. The big day has finally arrived. We were met with smiles and rain! So I got out my makeup while it poured to spend some special time with the girls I love so much. I wasn’t sure if they knew how to apply it so I step by step taught them skipping the foundation because I only have one color “Muzungu”. Everything else I could share! They nodded and smiled as I showed them how. They then took turns trying to apply it themselves with the only mirror I brought. One of my friends shared her darker lipstick since I only had light colors. There were a few who were afraid to tackle liquid liner so I happily had them form a line for application. Then while they were all applying at differing steps I put foundation on (because I never use blush and only apply light colors on the eyes as well as lips preferring a more natural look). Well, I put the foundation down and apparently they wanted some! Next thing I know there are beautiful little china doll children with pale skin and bright lips. 🙂 ADORABLE!!!!
After the rain stopped I was able to hand out a special gift to each child. Something small like sunglasses, a matchbox car, a small bottle of nail polish bought in a huge pack at 50% off from Easter… it doesn’t have to be expensive to be meaningful!! I also handed out crochet hooks and half skeins of yarn. I didn’t really get a chance to work with yarn crafting this year. I plan to focus on it next trip because I observed that crochet hats are needed and worn by many Ugandans but not too common for sale in the markets. I have left a few tutorials on the laptop that was donated. My star pupil from last year also has a book of hat patterns she is trying to learn to read and pratice with. She has assured me that she will help teach a few others. I asked them to practice and keep what they finish safe for me to see next time I come. I can’t wait to see what they will create!!
Next was the Big Birthay Bash!! The boy and I were sent into a shut room where I explained what he was to do. Here at BDI they often call a birthday a “bathday”. You spend months in mommy’s tummy with no bath. When you are born you get your first bath! So everyone pours water on you. As we stood in the locked room I watched out the window as children excitedly got water in cups and the teachers got water in basins. When everyone was ready we were greeted with Deaf applause and shouts! I was handed a cup full of water to pour on my kid. Then I found out I was to sit next to my boy!! “Why?” I signed in protest, “It is not MY birthday”. Well, they wanted me to so I did. They signed/sang “happy birthday” to him and I joined in. The video (click here) shows that I was looking at him and signing when all of the sudden I was soaked to the bones and everyone took off running!!! We were supposed to chase them and hug them while soaking wet. Squeals, screams, giggles, we slipped in the newly created red mud chasing kids and teachers alike. Even the visitors from Austria accepted a half hug from me as I explained the reasoning behind the tradition. (Click here for the chase video)
He then opened his gift. A UG soccer uniform! He loves it and has declared he will wear it on the flight back to the USA. We both changed and came back out to a beautiful cake with “Happy Birthday” in Luganda written across it. We got to serve cake to all the students, teachers, and friends. Such a joyous day! It wasn’t until hours later I realized the water gave me raccoon eyes from the make-up fun we had with the girls earlier. Not a single person told me! Must be a “Muzungu thing”. I truely didn’t care, just thought it was funny. The rest of the day was sillyness, snuggles, smiles, dancing, hugging, and bitter sweet goodbyes. 3 children who are not mine cried because we are leaving. Many more hugged long and tight just soaking up the love like a sponge. Today one kid told me that they were going to steal me and make me stay. That I would live in Uganda and all the chilren would change and become MY sons and daughters. The notion was met with smiles, squeals, and Deaf applause. I like that idea and those silly tears ALMOST showed up in my eyes in that moment.
Leaving the school this time without looking back over my shoulder was both easier and harder than last time. It was much easier because I feel in my heart that God will make a way for me to return sooner rather than later. It was somehow hard but not too hard because these people, these children, this community, has become much closer to my heart than last time when I visited only a few short days. I have learned personalities, likes and dislikes, interests and hobbies, and basic culture with all the differences and similarities. I have mastered local transportation and learned enough Luganda to greet people and argue cost when someone tries to charge me the “Muzungu price”. The bright side is that upon touchdown next time I can go anywhere or do anything I wish without depending on my hosts for help. So, I won’t say goodbye, I will chose to smile, and instead I will say, “See you soon friends… see you soon.”