Cheers and Bed Bugs

I’m up in the air again. I can’t get my work to load, so I am doing something else with my time up here above the North Atlantic – I’m talking to you.

I’ve been up in the air a lot lately, and now I’m on my way back to Uganda. I was just there two weeks ago with some work friends rehabbing a safe house for women fleeing domestic violence. What was a cement block of a room, walls smudged with old handprints, cracked and cob-webby, is now a sanctuary with bunk beds, clean sheets, toys, real plants and fake plants that will make you feel good if the real ones die.

I came home feeling like we had made something beautiful and itching all over from bed bugs that crawled onto me one night like I was a Golden Corral.

My life is full of these swings right now, these tosses and turns between moments on different ends of the emotional spectrum. Cheers at the opening of the safe house followed by sleepless nights tearing away the covers at 3am and crawling over the seams of the hotel bed with my cell phone light, fingertips peeling at every seam.

I’m heading back to Uganda right now with soccer balls and hospital scrubs and a coworker whose sense of humor keeps me laughing over the back-cracking rides on the craggy country roads. I wake up excited at the work I’m doing, telling stories of efforts my friends and coworkers are doing in corners of the world I didn’t know existed until I met them. At the same time, I am full of dread at the thought of arriving to Bidi Bidi Refugee Settlement where 250,000 people – grandmoms and babies and fathers and daughters and siblings and orphans – they’ve all arrived in the last few months trying to survive, hoping there is a reason to.

The first days of 2017 I’m feeling the need to be quiet, to think, to plan, to hold the world in all it’s contradictions. This need is coming over me without thinking about it, without intending it, largely I think because my husband and I are trying to have a baby.

Kids. My kids. They’re going to be here soon. My husband and I cry just about every day with joy and anticipation, and now, somewhere over Greenland, I think about all these pieces, the bedbugs and the safe houses, the homes we make and the homes we leave, the world we wish for and the world we have.

The truth is, this world is already theirs. What do I want them to know, and what can I do right now to make it the best for them it can be?

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