So, upon my recent arrival back in Uganda after my Canadian visit for this, I was greeted with the good news that the children still had all their limbs attached, which, in such a longer absenteeism, is as realistic a hope as any to have.
Of course, I gave them some gifts and this included some Turkish Delight, that enchanted candy that drove that boy Edmund crazy in the Narnia story The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
So, the kids had their share and then, picture their cheeks now bulging, admitted they barely noticed I was gone. Two weeks away apparently seemed like a couple of hours – “But thanks for the Turkish Delight, Dad.”
I suppose I could have stayed away a couple of decades and brought back moon rocks, so far be it for me to upset the equilibrium of everything – Mom is back from her own Canada travels in a couple of days.
But last evening, I heard more about it all from the kids’ primary caregivers in our absence, a couple of fine young Canadian women working for Save the Mothers here in Uganda.
“Yeah, your kids are great! They’re so much fun!” they said in stereo before explaining the various games played by all.
This was then followed by the news that these two gals had just returned from a visit to the nearby River Nile where they, uh, went bungee jumping.
“Uhuh. Good. Glad it went so well for you,” I said.
Remind me not to tell the children’s mother about this.
One never knows what might unfold when travelling and on my return flight from Canada I happened to stop in Istanbul for a bit of writing fodder when Pope Francis showed up, as it happened, the same days I was there.
Outside, between the world-renowned Hagia Sophia and the neighbouring Blue Mosque, I managed to get within shouting distance of Francis amidst the expected security which included overhead choppers and a drone of sorts which, I’m guessing, could effectively take out anyone the hundred or so gun-toting police might miss.
The Pope was in Istanbul (where he’s known as “Papa”) to talk about peace.
This during a time when Christians in the Middle East in particular are facing horrible persecution by Islamic extremists. He chose Istanbul for its symbolism – the city is capital of an officially secular state, Turkey, a country that also has a populace that is 99 per cent Muslim.
Istanbul also happens to be the only city that not only straddles both Asia and Europe, but, historically, straddles the Muslim and former Christian era in that part of the world. In the Byzantine era, it was the capital of the Orthodox Christian world for many centuries.
Stay tuned for something more on all this.