The clouds parted at 6.30am and below the plane was a sea of green. I felt goosebumps rise on my arms and butterflies go wild deep in the pit of my stomach as a grin broke out across my face. Hello, Africa.
After travelling for 30 hours I was finally back in the Pearl of Africa, Uganda. As I stepped out of the arrivals gate with a porter helping me carry 4 massive bags there were Morris, Carli and Tevin. Nothing says welcome home like friendship. We crammed the bags into the back of the borrowed CRV, threw on some reggae tunes and hit the road. Cows, bicycles and motorbikes compete for space along the road and the swirling dust is brought up in the soft breeze. Familiar sights, smells and sounds overwhelmed my senses and it felt like I never left.
We were a spectacle as we drove upcountry home to Lira; a tall Ugandan with dreads and an equally tall muzungu (foreigner) with a street dog at her feet. We bounced along the bumpy, dusty road in a new Lira, the lush green Lira of rainy season nothing like the dry drab Lira I left in March. We pulled up to the gates of the Atin Afrika house and I breathed deeply. This is the place of my dreams, a place I had created with Morris yet never seen before. The gate was decorated with balloons and a sign that said, “Welcome Home Auntie. We love you!” Home…Pacu…I am home.