It’s a few days late, but here’s how our final day went with our family.
Started the day in the bus again, but this time we got to sit in the front seat! We had to wait for a bit before we left, so a guy came up to our window and just started talking to us. He told us straight up that he was a pagan. Taylor asked him if he knew who Jesus was, and the man said he did, but Jesus is for the white man because he’s white. Taylor talked to him for a little bit, he asked a lot of questions, then he had to run off somewhere. Pray for this man. Pray that SOMETHING Taylor said got through to him, and that he might see a glimpse of God and his love.
Moving right along, we made it to Wasso’s house and sat down for breakfast. We had grits, sweet tasting donut things, and tea. After we ate, we went outside to hang out. There were hardly any kids around yet, so we sat around with Odette. Then a few kids showed up, and Taylor started asking where Gulaine (I asked on how to spell her name!) was. Two girls went to go get her, and when she came back she came right into the yard and sat right between Taylor and I. We had some fun taking some pictures, then I was asked to go into the kitchen. And actually, I’m still not really sure why, because they never asked me to help out with anything. I just sat there watching Taylor play with the kids. He really got them going, and it seemed like the kids multiplied, too! It was loud and crazy. He played for a long time, all the way up until lunch. For lunch we ate fish, chicken, rice, bugali and beans. Super good. After a bit we went back outside to hang out. A lot of the kids went home while we went inside to eat lunch, including Gulaine. Taylor was asking where she was, and finally he just decided to go to her house to get her. Of course, he didn’t go alone. The whole crowd of kids followed him there. When he got there, he didn’t find Gulaine, just her dad and a few other people. They made it seem like Gulaine was inside so he just hung out outside. Turns out, she wasn’t inside. She showed up after a few minutes, then a few minutes more, I showed up. The dad invited us inside and introduced us to two other daughters. We took a few pictures, told him we loved his daughter, and then we left. On our way out we met Gulaine’s school principal. He invited us into the school (which is right next door to her house) and we got to chat a little bit and walked around to look at the classrooms. It’s a pretty run down school, but they seem to be doing okay.
We went back to Wasso’s house and played with the kids more. Gulaine wanted to challenge Taylor again in the jumping game, so Taylor stood up and was ready for it. As soon as Gulaine jumped, he grabbed her and started tickling her. She was laughing but also saying “Pardon! Pardon!” and trying to get away. She looked like she started crying, so Taylor let her go. Then she started laughing again, so Taylor went after her again, then she really started crying and ran outside the gate. She was hardly making eye contact with Taylor. She eventually came back inside, and Taylor turned into a softy and was really gentle with her. He went over and held her hand and apologized. Taylor thinks maybe she was just embarrassed. It didn’t take her long to come back and sit right next to Taylor and start bossing people around again. Gulaine was on one side of Taylor, Odette on the other. Both hanging all over him. It was very sweet. They started singing more songs and playing more games and making more noise. I ventured my way into the crowd after a bit and sat next to Odette. I didn’t last long though. Those kids were crowding in on the hairy muzungu, just trying to get a look or something. It was a bit claustrophobic. But those kids are so sweet, and they all just want some attention, to be touched, or tickled, or hugged or something. Taylor eventually stood up and started chasing kids around. When he would turn his back one way, kids would sneak up behind him and hit his butt or his legs or something then run away when he turned around. Every once in a while he’d take a kid down and tickle him, let him go then go for his next victim. They just loved all the attention. After a while of playing, it was time to go. Mama Wasso asked us to come inside and she presented us with some food for our trip. Peanuts, sweet bread that looked like waffles, and some guavas from their tree. They told us what a blessing it was to have us, and that they will pray the Lord brings us back someday. They prayed for us and then we got to say a few things. We told them we loved their family, and we know what a hard time it is for them with her husband dying and all the visitors around. We thanked them for taking us in, and we gave them an old digital camera of ours. They thought it was just great. Before we left we wanted some pictures of us with the family. Taylor set up the tripod and we all stood in a group and took some pictures. Actually, a TON of pictures. We just kept snapping. After putting it off long enough, we really did need to leave. We were sad to go. Wasso and Teddy walked us out, with a few little girls following. Odette was on one of Taylor’s hands while Gulaine was on the other. I had a little girl named Irene on mine. They walked us all the way up the hill, then Wasso said they had to go back. So we each took a few final pictures with them, squeezed them hard, and had to tell them goodbye. As we were walking away, Taylor told me that Gulaine asked if he would take her back to America. He really wanted to tell her yes, but for obvious reasons he didn’t. We’re going to miss those kiddos tremendously. I’m glad we took a zillion pictures and videos. I don’t think we’ll ever forget them. It’s sad to think that if we ever see them again, they will be so different. I hope and pray they turn out to be Godly women. I know they’ll be able to hold their own in life; they’ve got some spunk. I just hope they use that spunk in the right ways.
It was a sad goodbye, but it was inevitable. It also wasn’t the only goodbye we’ve had to make, but I’ll save that for a later date.
We are currently in Kigali, awaiting tomorrow when we fly out and head home. I’ll try and write again tomorrow with an update on our last few days in Congo.