The Night After Camp

The last day of camp was mainly about packing and cleaning up the premises. My team the Ephesians was tasked with mopping and organizing the main hall. It had been the center of activities over the past few days. It was now particularly dirty from last night’s farewell party.

The Night After Camp -Part Two

First, we started off the cleaning as a fairly big team. But the numbers kept reducing and reducing. At some point, I was left with two kids. Then I was alone. I didn’t blame them. I understood that they had to pack. Plus there was the excitement of catching up with friends for the last time. After lunch, everyone would head back home. First lesson I learnt when I facilitated at my first camp years ago was, “Camp is all about the children”. They deserved to be happy.
As I finished up the mopping, Leo passed by and commented that I deserved a hug. You bet I did; this was the first camp I had been part of that involved chores.

In the afternoon, we had a last meeting as fascilitators. Involuntarily, I shed tears. The children and adults had all moved my heart so deeply. On top of easily getting attached, I hate goodbyes.

That evening, we arrived at the place where we would spend the night. It was too late for us to travel from Mbale to Kampala. Leo’s brother led the Mbale region, but he was away in Canada. We used his home for the night. Inside, I placed my luggage in a corner and relaxed on the comfortable couch. It was a lovely home. Clearly, the interior designer understood the assignment.

I love eating my snacks when I am well-rested. This was the moment. I washed my hands at the sink and started on my cake. Patrik, the nine-year-old son to the lady that had been in charge of the camp meals, walked in at that moment.

‘Auntie you want a banana?’ he asked. Patrik stood in the kitchen doorway holding one in his hand. I thought there were several bananas in the kitchen, so I said yes.

Right there, with his bare hands, Patrick peeled the entire banana and put the peel aside. Holding the peeled banana with both hands, he broke it into half. Patrik gleefully offered me one part. When I took it, he excitedly put the other in his mouth. I was amused. Don’t we all just love kids?
Still wondering if he had washed his hands, I took a bite. His mom entered at about the same time. I just hoped she didn’t think I had bullied her son into giving me his banana. I hope it helped the situation that I had shared my cake with him.

Leo arrived in another car with the music instruments and other materials we had used at the camp. As he ferried everything inside, we occasionally shared a smile here and there.

This one time as he passed, Leo used his toes to rub beneath my foot. I am very ticklish. At first I thought it was an accident and that my feet were stretched out in his way. Assuming he just wanted to pass, I pulled my feet back. Turns out he was just flirting with me. The smile on his face told me as much. I smiled back.

When they had successfully offloaded the car, Leo and his friend Ron entered the house. Ron is the single person I had totally failed to like at that camp and I bet the feeling was mutual. Just the way he looked at me was enough to tell me that he disliked me.

Leo wanted to make a call but no one he asked had airtime. I had some little money on my mobile money account. I sent him enough to purchase a voice bundle.

Patrik and I sat watching a movie, though I was mostly texting my friends. His mom was possibly sleeping. Leo and Ron sat in the kitchen, peeling Irish. Part of me wanted to help but I was beyond fatigued.

Uninterested in the movie and discouraged by the poor network connection, I decided to sleep in the couch. Later, because it was chilly, I got up and took a bedsheet out of my bag to cover myself. Leo noticed and half-closed the backdoor which was open for airation. They were cooking on gas.

I must have drifted off ’cause the next thing I knew, Leo was waking me up to eat.

End of Part One.

Disclaimer: The names that feature in this story are fictitious. They were made up to protect the identity and privacy of those involved.

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