Back in 2009 I visited Yei, an orphanage here, to see about opportunities for me to work with them. It didn’t work out, which was frustrating at the time, but like many things I look back and I’m grateful that it didn’t. At that time I thought that this was the Africa I wanted to live in. Poor with many needs. Red dirt roads, tropical fruit, villages full of tukuls (round mud houses with thatch roofs), green landscapes. It was what I had been dreaming of. I ended up instead in a busy city in the desert. And I learned to love it there.
So now that I’m back it doesn’t feel quite right. Because it’s not the people I grew to love or a place that became a home.
I was able to visit with a friend who lives here who got to the field about the same time I did in Dec 2010. We walked to the shop to get some things and on the way she was stopping and chatting with all kinds of people. I had a pang of jealousy. Why did she get to be in a place for two years and then leave and come back and I can’t? The feeling was fleeting. His ways are higher than our ways and I rest in that. Living comparing our circumstances to others is asking for a despairing heart.
Maybe you are sick of hearing me lament these things. This ache and longing for where I was and the people I love there. And I don’t hope to dwell on it. But I’m a pretty honest person. And–honestly–I still think about them all the time.
I keep seeing the boys in the people here. A mouth shape, a voice, a nose, a way of walking. I miss them. Oh, do I miss them.
I’m slightly fearful of never settling into a place again and also fearful that I will and that place won’t be my desert home. I’m scared of becoming ingrained in another place and that my love for the my desert country will wane. But I’m also scared that I’ll hold too tightly to that and won’t full invest myself elsewhere. But I think God gives us an ever expanding capacity in our hearts for people. Others never get pushed out as new ones enter in.
So, I’m not sure if South Sudan could ever feel like home, but maybe someday.