If your visa has expired….

Hello hello,

Yes, there we are again, back on the road. Yes yes everything is going slowly in Africa and I have adapted very well with this very delayed update…….

Not that spectacular, actually, as far as I can remember. Nowadays there is not so much information left and I even notice that my short term memory sometimes fails….. gets stuck in (too) much sun.
The last month was dominated by a visit to the Netherlands to surprise my little mother who would indeed turn 50. There was going to be a complete disco in the living room and everyone had to be dressed alla flower power, mother knew nothing about it. Father Vogel set everything in motion for me to come over because it would be the best gift for mothers if I could make my entrance at this party as the icing on the cake and make her very happy with my arrival…… (“Bring out the bath towels”, we thought).

All very nice and nice but I have been staying illegally in Uganda for 2 months now and since they are not really flexible in extending visas here, I had a problem anyway. You never know if you will be on a blacklist when you are finally allowed to leave the country anyway. So what then? In the end I decided to take the risk so everything was prepared for departure. The kids were under the care of Sunday and Maureen (wouldn’t know what I would do without them) for 3 weeks and I would go for 3 weeks as a non-mother, lovely……no crying, stress, poop and piss and especially no sleepless nights………. I liked that thought for sure but when I said goodbye I had it very hard, lots of tears but I also knew I needed a break. So much has happened in the past year and I was a bit stuck on my taxi so after the sad farewell I went to the airport. Of course I was nervous about immigration for 2 days now and yes your worst dream will come true…….

I gave my passport very bravely and pretended to know nothing, my heart was beating in my throat. “Madam, you have been in the country without a visa for 2 months now, unfortunately I am not allowed to let you through”, yes, that is where the first tears came. Jee I had been eating myself up for 2 days and praying that this wouldn’t happen but still……. I explained the whole story, I am working on a work permit but because everything is going so slowly in Uganda I still have to wait and since your immigration service isn’t very helpful (except when money is put under the table) for foreigners (discrimination????) I have a problem…… After half an hour of heart palpitations and piglet tears, 6 phone calls and a warning I was finally allowed to go to the Netherlands…….. by customs.

It was a quiet arrival in the Netherlands, because I was too early (not African at all) Fortunately after 10 minutes my girlfriends and uncle arrived, less than 5 minutes later we were sitting in the car on a delicious bar of REAL chocolate and I was put on top of the latest news and gossip, of course all the gossip had to go. Mothers were not allowed to know that I was in the country so I went into hiding with my family where I enjoyed a nice hot shower and could put my clothes in the washing machine…..what a luxury. The brown sandwiches with cheese, green tea, pasta’s, chips and pizza’s and wine, wine and more wine were a real delicacy. I can still see that now because the trousers are rather difficult to close.

The prelude to the party was, of course, the most fun. Buying a wig, picking out clothes and drama shoes……. The party was already in full swing and I was sitting with the neighbours waiting for my entrance. The moment arrived and there I went dressed up and went to…….. Of course mothers didn’t know what she saw but we didn’t have to drag bath towels for the enormous tears, which we did expect. Probably she was still so intoxicated with all the surprises the whole evening that this was still possible, of course she was very happy….. and so was the rest of the family. Everyone in the flower power gear and the eighties music was shouting through Huize Vogel, cosiness what more could you want. I was very happy to see all my family and it was a very warm welcome for me.

The three weeks in the Netherlands were so short. I wanted to see everyone but didn’t want to travel all day from hot to cold because I would go back to Uganda even more tired. So sorry for the people I couldn’t see anymore……. I am very spoiled and I would like to thank everyone for this indulgence. Yes the word Africa and children seems to make a lot of sense in people…. Although I think the people in the Netherlands do as good a job as I do, I give up a little more for it and I like it……
The positive reactions are unbelievable and sometimes I can’t cope emotionally when I realise how many people are supporting me and how much people love me. Without you I can’t do this work and I can’t thank you enough!!!!
The flyer is also a huge success which has made me well-known to new audiences. Many people asked me what I really needed….. I couldn’t think of anything so quickly. Actually I don’t want too much luxury here in Uganda, life is a bit easier when you don’t have so much choice (drama to choose a nice dessert in the Netherlands, all 800 are delicious) I have everything my heart desires. A beautiful house, healthy children, regular sunshine and a great supporters who support me. Of course I do have wishes, for example a new water tank, electricity and a car…. Sounds very luxurious, but these are the BIG things on my wish list that we are going to save up for. My little things on my wish list are a pee alarm (for bed-wetting children), in due time a green tea and a nice letter, text message or bell. I think it’s very sweet when people send packages but this is very expensive and in some cases unfortunately the package doesn’t arrive. It’s not very nice to write but in the end the money helps me the most. I can then pay school fees and save up for my big list.

Because I am getting a bit unhappy to always be worried about money (which doesn’t make me happy at all, but what I do need a bit) I am looking for 75 people who want to deposit 10 euros a month. This way I’m sure I’ll have money every month to pay my fixed expenses and for unexpected expenses. One of the children has been in hospital for 6 weeks now and I’m pretty scared of the hospital bill. Of course it will be nothing compared to a Dutch hospital bill, but for me it will probably be a complete monthly budget, so it would be nice if I had a buffer. I have received many positive reactions to this idea and hope it will be a success and for me one less worry.

After 3 weeks in the Netherlands I had to say goodbye again. Of course the idea to see my children again was nice but this time it was very hard to say goodbye. I loved to be ‘home’ for a while and to enjoy all my friends and family. Yes, then I realise again that love is the most important thing in life. I may squeeze my hands with all those wonderful people around me (why did I go to Africa again?), but I’m not yet ready to live a settled life (what do I have now?), I enjoy the freedom here and nature and the sun.
Of course everyone is welcome here…………

Yes that was it. I’m a bit afraid that this coming year will be a bit boring. Of course so much has happened in the past year, we just found 6 children and we are going to live in a house with them, yes those are great stories but also these children will grow up and we will just live our “bourgeois” life here. We’ll see, otherwise I’ll go looking for adventure, of course you have to keep it a bit exciting. Enough talking about me, we are going to get back to it with positive energy and… you are going to hear from me again!!!!

Thank you all very much and see you next year!!!!

Kim in the bush