I could fill these pages with thoughts about just how simply amazing it was to be home. I have never felt such kindness, generosity and Southern hospitality. It was beyond words to get to see my friends and family. I am in awe of all those that pray for me and I now know why I have been able to do what I do. Your prayers sustain me.
I loved every second of being home. I loved waking up knowing that anything I could possibly want for breakfast was mostly in the pantry downstairs or attainable at the local Ingle’s. I loved having internet. I loved driving Dad’s convertible. I was really disappointed that I was so busy that I didn’t get to see my cousin or spend a lot of time with my friends. But I was blown away by those who all wanted to hear more about the school and my life here. I stayed so busy. I never had not one single day with nothing to do. I found myself ready to come back to Pemba where I could rest. One of the neatest things about going home was making new friends. I am amazed by those who God seems to be handpicking to put into my life. I raised enough money to buy my plane ticket back and was given seed money to start doing some small business loans with our students!
As I boarded the plane, I was at total peace, knowing that it was simply time to go home. As I previously mentioned, as I filled out my immigration forms in South Africa, I made a horrific discovery. I only have a 30 day visa. The embassy in Washington was horrible at getting me the visa in the first place. I called numerous times and have dubbed them the worst customer service on the planet. I was told that I was being given the visa I requested. When the visa arrived, a month late, I just checked the dates of validity, not reading the fine print that even though it is valid until my departure date of November, it is a 30 day multiple entry visa. This means I have to leave the country every 30 days. This means in less than a month I have to fly to South Africa to get it renewed. Flights to SA are $800. I cannot do this 5 times. I am meeting with immigration on Monday. We don’t have internet so I cannot post this so chances are you will not read this until after this meeting has occurred. I am not really upset, mostly just frustrated and wondering how I could have missed that. How could I not have seen that? How could they make such a mistake? I know I am supposed to be here. I don’t know what tomorrow will hold, but I have to hold on to my peace and know that if this costs me, it costs me and God will provide. He is faithful.
I immediately got settled into my house and unpacked all the little things I had brought from the States to make my house a home. It’s amazing what a rug will do. I brought a juicer. I am having beet, ginger, apple and carrot juice as I write this. Phylis bought me a magnetized board and I put some of your photos there in my room. I washed my vegetables in a large new bowl from Target. I hung my new shower curtain. It feels better now. The house still has mold and I am congested and sneezing. It is a problem. I am going to tackle cleaning the ceilings tomorrow. Veronica, my cleaning lady will help me, of course. She was ELATED to see me and ran to greet me. That alone was worth the 19 hours of air travel, just to see her face and hear her squeal my name.
The weather here is perfect. It is not hot and has been so pleasant and mild. I know this can change in an instant but I played outside with Nathalia and Bia tonight in the front yard and never would have dreamed of playing out there in the past 6 months. You would have died of a heat stroke.
I am all moved back in and even got to swim in the sea. A group went on Saturday. I live in such a beautiful place. I live at the beach! That thought never ceases to make me grin.
I got to see a lot of the kids, our Iris kids and some of my students at church this morning. It feels like family. I am honored to be a part of it and just excited to see what God does, with them and with me along this little journey. It looks like I may be doing private English lessons a few times a week. I am also excited to see what can come of our small business loans. I know there are mixed reviews on the effectiveness of micro loans but I think in a setting where there is education and accountability, we can really have some success stories.
I feel that I am back where I belong. Hartwell and Atlanta were so much fun. I loved hot water, big beds, refrigerators full of food, shopping, driving in one lane, with lines and no potholes on a paved road, electricity, no frogs in the house. But other than the constant flow of friends to see and visit, there really is nothing there for me and this is where I belong.
I am praying for major favor during tomorrow’s visit to the immigration office. I have been told there is little they can do. I will be relieved to just know one way or the other and make my plans accordingly.