The Long Journey

photo (2)By Melanie Doberenz, Red Apple Mom
One Red Apple family, the Doberenz family,is spending three months in Bugabo, Uganda following where God leads.  They are keeping a blog about their experiences.  Here is one of their entries.


Anyone watching us on our travel days probably thought we were a traveling circus. Picture this: Mark walking quickly through an airport with a hiking backpack strapped to his front, another backpack on his back, and carrying duffle bags in each hand each weighing 40 lbs or more. Behind him, like a single file line of ducklings, are Levi, Annika, and Cady each pulling a rolling backpack the size of their owner and Tanner pulling two of them. Then I was the caboose, carrying 3 bags myself, and doing a never-ending head count and saying “follow daddy!” repeatedly. We were in a constant hurry because our planes were late, we never knew where we were going or how long it took to get there, and, most significantly, we had to go through security at EVERY airport. That makes 3 times that we had to take off shoes, heave 12 bags onto conveyor belts, unpack computers, take off jackets, and explain all the food (including showing the doctor’s note explaining Tanner’s allergies). At our third airport, they physically searched and chemically tested ALL 12 bags. We must look really shady. Our kids were nothing short of amazing during all of this. They kept going through their bleary-eyed fatigue and Tanner manhandled his 2 suitcases like a pro, even on escalators and tiny airplane aisles. It was a crazy way to start this journey, but well worth the adventure that awaited us! But, I am looking forward to an easier time on our return. :)

We arrived in Uganda at something like 4 AM and were given our own line in customs. I think they were trying to get us through in a hurry… I can’t imagine why. It’s not like Cady was crying. Or Levi was rearranging the line markers. Or we smelled. Or we took up more space than the rest of the people put together. Oh wait! That was us! Whatever… It got us through faster. Now all that was left was for the 6 of us to collect the 16 checked bags, some of which weighed exactly 50 lbs and a few of which weighed exactly 70 lbs, to go with our 12 carry-ons. Riiiiiiiggghhhhttt… No problem.

When we walked outside, everyone but Levi was pushing a luggage cart. The girls couldn’t even see over the tops of theirs! Levi was sad not to get to push one, but we made it up to him by letting him pull 2 suitcases and wear a backpack. I have never been so glad to see people in all my life as I was to see Christie and George waiting for us at the door. I wonder how they recognized us?

Find out more about this amazing experience  and follow their journey at


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