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odin goes up country

December 4th, 2008 · 1 Comment · Paige

odin crossed the equator yesterday and we blew it by not photographing the momentous occasion. some people wait decades before they can say they’ve been at the equator; it took odin 4 months. goes to show how commonplace it is for us to go back and forth, north to south, that i didn’t even register the event until tonight… and by now he’s crossed it twice.

odin at equator. although it’s not of odin standing at the equator sign which would unequivocally indicate that yes, indeed he’s at the world’s belt, at least not all is lost and we do have this photo of the babe at the equator cafe (which, go figure, is at the equator).  he looks thrilled to be there, huh.

to get to the equator, odin went up country. in mn, we have up north. in uganda, we have up country. up country describes everything outside kampala whether it’s north, south, east or west. in fact, odin went a little south and a little west to ssembabule, the district of our oldest field site (my ngo’s been working there for 15+ years). i suppose it was apropos for that to be odin’s first up country trip.

the ssembabule staff are so warm and welcoming, and since they’ve been together so long they feel like a family. sister mary called odin her grandson. odin received a box full of toys from the ssembabule family.

odin’s toys. ugandan salaries are modest at best, yet each of the staff was generous enough to give odin a “welcome to ssembabule” present. knowing what our guards make per month (<$50) makes the gift of a miniature toy piano or a ball that much more meaningful.  each staff labeled his present with his name written on a piece of masking tape.  there was something about it all that really pulled on my heartstrings.  i was really happy i’d brought odin to meet all of them.

malaria risk is higher up country than in kampala.  i don’t worry about much as a mom, but i do worry about malaria. so odin was under a mosquito net at sunset (7pm) even though i know malarial mosquitos don’t really feast until late night (11pm-5am is peak biting hours). too bad for us that it was pretty much his first hard night, ever. after much crying, nursing, rocking, singing, and questions of what should we do, he finally slept. but, just imagine all of that without being able to leave your mosquito-netted bed.  oh yeah, and without electricity either.

odin & mom reading books by headlamp.

lucky for us odin has very few rough times and those he does have are short-lived. we could’ve had a nightmare of a night, the three of us bundled under the net in misery. instead once we got him to sleep, he pretty much stayed asleep.

this mini-trip to ssembabule was a dry run for our christmas holiday in ethiopia (we got our tickets, yay!). obviously we’ve traveled with odin quite a bit already - we lived at fox lake while taking him for hospital visits in crosby (40 minutes) and the cities (3 hours), we drove from fox lake to the cities (3 hours) to grand marais (5 hours) in one day, we flew halfway around the world (26 hours) to get him home - but we’ve never traveled as tourists with him. our plan is to keep it low-key so we don’t wear the poor boy out. to/from ssembabule in 2 days is tiring for even us, but was an even bigger trip for him since the kiddo’s basically been asleep since 10 o’clock this morning and now it’s 9 o’clock at night and he’s fast asleep, still. note to self - travel is good but don’t forget sleep.

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