Hola! Hope you're smiling :)
I got an email today with that question and I thought – wow, there’s no way I won’t reply to that email and there’s no way I can write a blogpost now – but the answer to this question is a perfect email and blogpost!
I was going to Uganda, everything was set, the invitation letters had arrived from friends in Kampala and I was just about to book my tickets when things changed. I am not very happy about not going to Uganda and going to the UK instead. I can always go to Uganda, that’s not a problem but I don’t know when Marie will be in Uganda again.
Marie McGee from Arkansas is a 65 year old nurse – an angel and my soul sister. Marie worked in a hospital in Uganda for three years as a nurse working on behalf of a Christian missionary. In her first year Marie saw that a baby of three days was left on the verandah because the hospital and other nurses believed he wouldn’t survive – he was terribly undernourished and there were too many infants in the hospital and a cradle for Michael didn’t come easy. Marie took the boy in and treated him, her blog details how but the details aren’t necessary now for Michael is four years old today and supremely intelligent for his age. Michael’s mother died in childbirth and father cannot afford him. Michael now lives in a church and is healthy.
Marie wanted to adopt Michael but found it extremely difficult to make that happen as a single woman who never married and has no property to speak of. Marie left Uganda in 2010 after three years and has been living in the States since. Her contract with the church ended and Marie knows she cannot afford another trip to Uganda, not too soon for sure.
A cousin of Marie recently passed away from illness. The cousin left gifts for each one of her family members and for Marie – she left round trip tickets to Uganda. This doesn’t happen often you know. So Marie is in Uganda now and I planned to join her there, meet Michael, my dear, wonderful Michael that Marie keeps telling me about. I also wanted to explore possibilities of adopting Michael but I am sure the challenges concerning that as a 26 yr old single Indian woman of limited means wouldn’t be any different from that of a 65 yr old single American woman’s.
So – no Uganda, no Marie, no Michael this July as was planned, here’s why…
One evening in May, a day before I was to book my tickets to Uganda, I went to Hard Rock Cafe for a drink. Little did I know that HRC had a contest that evening which I participated in and won. So Hard Rock Cafe is now flying me to a Bruce Springsteen concert in Hyde Park from 13 to 15 th July. The airfare and accommodation in a star hotel for three nights in London and the concert tickets are paid for. Hard Rock Cafe is extremely friendly so they booked my return ticket to 8 days later as per my request.
London’s is the very first city I ever fell in love with and Charles Dickens the first writer I ever read and you know of my love for Captain Scott. This year is Dickens’ 200th birth anniversary and the Capt. Scott expedition celebrates its 100th anniversary – so this seems as a great time to be in London but I can’t deny that my heart is with Marie and Michael.
I don’t like having tour plans and don’t really have one for England either but this is how it looks if I cared
13 – 16th : London
My best friend Julia is flying into London from Vienna to meet and travel with me for a few days.
16th – Oxford, high tea with my favourite writer Georgina Harding and the Dean of Christ Church College – I cannot tell you how excited I am about meeting Georgina and the Dean (her brother in law) of course!
17th – Castle Combe (Wiltshire) day trip from Oxford
18th – Liverpool
19th to 21st – Carlisle, Cumbria
22nd – Edinburgh
23rd – Back in London
24th – Depart for Hyderabad.
P.S. I wished to volunteer for 30 days with Barton Brooks’ Guerilla Aid to teach English to little kids. Barton is Marie’s friend and also Oprah Winfrey’s (no kidding)