We made it and could not have asked for a smoother trip. The only perceived kink was that the team that we thought we were meeting in Brussels did not make the flight. They were our planned help for the SL airport where we would be juggling 2 children, 2 booster seats, 4 backpacks, 4 carry-ons, a camera bag, and 8 checked bags. And it turned out just fine. Our SL airport friend walked us through customs and helped us get everything loaded. Osseh met us at the front door of the airport and already had the ferry lined up for us. He can take control of the situation with less than 10 words. I am still amazed at his calm command and so thankful for his presence. If I had have been able to get my camera out I would love to share with you an image that I hope is permanent in my mind. It is of him carrying Ivey and leading quite the caravan of luggage attendants and Andrew and I out of the airport to the taxi.
Another image I would post if it were logged somewhere other than my own mental folder would be one from the back seat of the bus taxi where we were waiting for the ferry to load the entire car we were driving to take us over to the other side of the bay. Andrew, Osseh and Levi got out during the wait and while Andrew and Osseh were talking, Levi was swinging his newest glow stick in circles to the delight of the people. In the meantime Ivey was chatting with all the peddlers out the bus window. They were so impressed with her speech and kept asking her to say things or spell things and then exclaiming “you are so clever!” and calling someone else to come and hear the ‘small small piken’.
When we made it to the guest house Ivey let Osseh know that he was a very good man and told him thank you for taking care of us. And sweet Marie stayed here at the guest house until 11:00 so that when we got here we would have dinner. We are so thankful for all the prayers and people who made the day so smooth for us.
Today we went to the center to go see the kids. Levi sometimes acts weird when he feels nervous or unsure what to do. Today he must have been really nervous or really not known what to do. And while that is totally understandable I have to admit I was a little embarrassed that he would not quit dancing, doing the robot, roaring like a dinosaur and karate chopping imaginary things. He would look off into space and answer questions in weird voices. All the kids at the center were so sweet to our children and while I did have my camera at this point I do not wish to share any of those images with you since in every one Levi is making a very strange face to the astonishment of the Sierra Leonian children. While typing this I am now laughing with Andrew about the image of all the kids at the center lining the wall while Sorie and Levi pretend dueled and Levi would come at him with a sort of matador move and then punch himself in the forehead and fall back. The kids would all laugh hysterically which spurred him on while I assured Albert that he is not always like this. Andrew and I kept feeling the need to assure all the people that he isn’t always this strange but that he was just unsure how to handle the new surroundings. We were able to take all of our children out to dinner this evening and it was so so so great to eat as a family of seven. I left with an Isatu handprint in ketchup on my shirt, sand in my shoes and a smile on my face. Riding back to the center with one arm around Ivey and the other around Albert listing to the sound of the other three giggling about scenes on the street is a very special thing to me. Thanks to all of you who have made it possible for us to be here. It is our goal that in turn many special things happen to and for others.
(internet won't let me post any of the photos yet but I plan to as soon as possible)