Monday, August 29, 2011

An ellipse to end a chapter

It's a simple story really, but confusing nonetheless:
Two months ago, everything was moving forward as planned; our project at Cornerstone Children's Home was wrapping up, and we were cultivating new relationships and dreaming about new projects with our friends in Nimule. We had moved into our new house and were busily making it into a home - buying furniture, putting in a solar electrical system, figuring out such issues as water collection and waste disposal. We had said we planned to be in South Sudan for two years, but the way things were going, it seemed like that horizon could extend even further out.
The one surprise, a happy one, was Sarah's pregnancy, and we were going back and forth about whether to go to Uganda for the delivery or spend some time back in the US. In the meantime, we were making the three hour bus trip every month to see our obstetrician in Gulu, Uganda. Sure, Sarah had been sick and her energy level was low, even as we headed into our second trimester, but we chalked those up to the normal maladies of early pregnancy.
We were only slightly alarmed, then, when Sarah started having some severe cramping late in July. Our calendar indicated a doctor's appointment only a week away, but we decided to play it safe and make an early trip just in case. The news started bad and got worse: Sarah had lost weight between weeks 12 and 16, her hemoglobin and iron were low, and - the coup de grace - she had typhoid and had carried it for the entire pregnancy. For the next week we were back and forth to the hospital each morning and evening for Sarah to get injections that would start combating the illness. Miracle of miracles, even after finishing the treatment, our baby was still healthy.
During that week we made the decision that we couldn't live with taking unnecessary risks on behalf of our unborn child, and staying in South Sudan had suddenly become one of those unnecessary risks. We decided to return to Denver in early September and stay indefinitely.
We're stepping into a great void of unknowns. With ever improving mobile phone and Internet service, we plan to stay in touch with our colleagues on South Sudan, supporting them, and developing projects together. We don't know exactly what that will look like, but we are confident that it will be beneficial. We have met with unwavering support from our friends here in Nimule as we have faced this challenge, and we are looking forward to introducing them to our child one day.
At the end of the day, we are sad to be leaving so many wonderful people but honored to have such profound friendships. We are proud of the work that we did at Cornerstone Children's Home. Mostly, we continue to feel blessed by the prospect of parenthood and the hope we adhere to for our child. Uncertain of what the future holds exactly, we nonetheless look forward to what it may bring.