Around August time we made the decision that we were going to come back to the UK in early 2017. It was after Alex had malaria and we had a lot of uncertainties at that point about whether we wanted to stay in Uganda. It wasn’t just the malaria but also that we we were struggling to find something to anchor us to Uganda in terms of a business and we also wanted to start thinking about having a family and considering the malaria whether Uganda was the right place for us to be to think about that. Everything was a bit of a challenge at that point and so we made a decision to come back to the UK in late January 2017. We started the process of arranging Madge’s return and decided to try and enjoy the last 5/6 months that we had left in Uganda. So we did. We went to Kenya for a holiday, went to places around Uganda, we started doing lots of sport and other activities. Tennis lessons, Alex was having cricket lessons and I was being taught how to sew. Before long we were loving Uganda again and the thought of leaving in January was something we were sad about and we tried not to think about it too much. At the end of October we had to do a visa run to get one more visa to see us through the last 3 months of our time in Uganda so we decided to head to Rwanda for a couple of weeks. We set off via Lake Mburu and Lake Bunyonyi and then over the border into Gisenyi.
(Everytime I reload this page the picture order changes but these are: Gisenyi beach with the Congolese volcanos in the distance, the view from our ‘Lazy Camping’ tent overlooking Lake Mburu National Park, The accomodation at Eagles nest, Lake Mburu, Gisenyi, Lake Bunyonyi, Lake Bunyonyi.)
It was in Gisenyi that some things started to not add up and we started to question whether I might in fact be pregnant. It was certainly a possibility, we knew that much as i’d stopped taking the pill a few months earlier. But, we thought it was pretty unlikely. Anyway we were heading off to the capital of Rwanda, Kigali shortly so we figured we’d find a pharmacy and put out minds at rest.
Alas we arrived in Kigali on a Sunday. Now in Kampala on a sunday everything is open as usual, everywhere is quiet because many people are in Church but there would be no problems in finding an open pharmacy. Kigali is a different kettle of fish in many ways to Kampala. Firstly, it is so orderly! There are pavements, traffic lights and filter lanes, big green spaces, bins and recycling bins on the streets. We were truely overwhelmed by how efficient and orderly it was compared to what we’d been used to. It differed in another way too because every pharmacy we came across had shut at lunchtime and we had to wait until the Monday morning to buy a pregnancy test.
So wait we did and at 7.30am the next morning we were first in line at the Pharmacy where I purchased 2 pregnancy tests (just in case) and off we scuttled back to our air bnb. I always presumed that when you got a positive pregnancy test that the positive line would be instantaneous and that it would be a big fat ‘hello you’re pregnant’ line. But no, apparently a faint line is just fine! Nothing was showing initially so I wondered off to distract myself for a few minutes before coming back to check on the test. It wasn’t long before a faint positive line emerged. I wasn’t sure if my eyes were playing tricks on me so I called Alex over to inspect the test as well as taking a picture and sending it to my Mum for verification. Ahhhhh – pregnant!!!! This wasn’t the plan, well it sort of was but it wasn’t meant to happen that quickly!
We were obviously both excited by the news, if not completely overwhelmed but I was freaking out slightly as I was still taking anti malarials at that point and definately knew that that was not ideal when pregnant. The next day we decided to head back to Kampala rather than stay in Rwanda as at least there I could go see a doctor and figure out what the best course of action was me over the next few months. It was en route to the border that Alex voiced what we’d both been thinking – ‘you need to go back to England’. As we were planning to go back in January anyway we figured it was only a couple of months sooner and I could come off the anti-malarials in good time and get into the system in the UK at my local hospital. Plus I was freaking out about health care, ectopic pregnancy and so on!
I still had ten days left on my previous visa so when we crossed back over the border into Uganda I didn’t buy a new visa. Alex did buy a new 3 month visa although the immigration officer was not at all happy about giving it to him. Questioning him about why he had so many visas and what were we really doing in Uganda…. eventually he let us through and we drove all day back to Kampala where I promptly did another pregnancy test (just to be sure). Within a week i’d packed up and left back to the UK where i’ve been ever since. I left Uganda so quickly I didn’t feel like I got to say goodbye, it was all such a blur and I had so many emotions running through my mind when I left that I didn’t really consider how much I had loved my time in Uganda and how sad I was to leave.
I’ve spent the last two months living back with my Mum (we rented our house out so can’t move back in until next month). I’ve been more tired and lacking in energy than I thought was possible but aside from that i’ve been feeling pretty normal and well, leading me to question if there really was a baby in there! My 12 week scan was later than expected due to Christmas bank holidays and ultra sound back logs so I had to wait until today to see the baby on screen and really truely comprehend that this is happening! It was incredible to see a fully formed, actual baby on screen, wriggling around and ‘waving’ at me from a computer screen. Keeping my pregnancy a secret over the passed two months has been close to impossible. 1. I’m terrible at secrets and 2. my sudden reappearance or effective ‘exile’ from Uganda and subsequent holing up with my Mum gave way to questions and implications and even if I didn’t admit the situation to everyone most people will not be surprised when they read this! And as for Alex, he has been constrained somewhat by the hound who is not cleared to fly back to Europe until January 5th so he has been waiting patiently in Uganda/living it up and having a ball in my absence. He is flying back next week – finally and our next chapter will begin!
And Uganda… it was amazing and I miss it and I know Alex will miss it when he is back. The people, the culture, the landscape, the friends we made, the climate and the lifestyle – it was definately one of the better decisions we have made and although it worked out differently to how we anticipated I will remember it fondly. The door to Uganda is open for us and we know we can go back in the future if we want to. We’re leaving our future open for the moment. Watch this space. 🙂