Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Trekking across Africa. . .oh my!

Someone recently told me they assumed that all our traveling across Africa must be like a bunch of vacations. I had to chuckle, because while we've definitely seen a number of amazing places and enjoy traveling, it's not always easy. Take yesterday for example.

We try to limit our trips to the capital by combining necessary errands, but some trips are unavoidable. We set off yesterday with a number of things that had to be taken care of. Besides stocking up on supplies for the mission teams arriving next month, we also have a number of business things that have to be done. While there is a car insurance off in our small town, they aren't connected by computer to the main office, so we learned first hand that if you pay there, you're insurance will likely be cancelled. This means it has to be paid in person in the capital.

We also needed a signature on an official document from a lady in the capital in order for us to file the papers for us to continue living here as our one year dery expires next month. Lastly, we have to take our car to a mechanic in South Africa as parts in Mozambique are hard to come by.

So we started off yesterday morning with plans to make it to the capital for lunch, run our errands there, then cross the boarder so the car could be dropped off this morning. Because of the problems we'd had with the car, I drove a second car in case we broke down as it had only been temporarily fixed.

An hour into the trip, Scott was pulled over by the police. Now the odds of getting a speeding ticket here, whether you've been speeding or not is high. So I waited up ahead, he paid the mandatory forty bucks we always keep with us and we headed off. Now the roads, especially in this long section are horrid and that's putting it nicely. I wove through potholes down the narrow stretch, trying to avoid as many as I could. Then at one point I missed one hug hole spanning the road and ran over a second.

The moment my tire hit the hole I knew I was in trouble. Immediately, I pulled over and sure enough, I'd ruined the tire and crushed the rim. For my first flat tire in Africa, it was a doozy. I called Scott on the walkie-talkie and he turned around to help. By the time we were on the road again, we'd lost more time. The kids were hungry, so we bought gas and bread, (there is no fast food)

We finally made it to the capital with only minutes to spare as the insurance place closes at 3:45. (Strange, I know.) They were getting ready to lock the door, but Scott begged for them to let him in which they did. Our insurance expired today, so we didn't want to have to spend the night in the capital. Scott rushed off to get the needed signature, and we forego the rest of what we had to do and headed for the boarder.

By now, it was dark and the kids were hungry, but the missionary guest house we were going to stay in was fixing us dinner, so we decided to grab a small burger for the kids across the boarder to hold them over, then drive the last hour to the guest house.

After an uneventful boarder crossing, KFC was a welcome sight. The ATM was broke, so we couldn't get money, but we scrounged for cash and had just enough to buy everyone a small chicken burger and pay for the upcoming toll. We got ready to leave and. . .Scott couldn't start his car. And it wasn't just that it wouldn't start, he couldn't even turn the key.

He called someone over from the gas station next door to see if they could help him, but after fifteen minutes, nothing. I noticed a guy pull up at the KFC with a 24 hour emergency car service on his car, so after praying over our car, we snagged him and asked for his help. Problem was, we had no cash to pay anyone to help us. Scott then sent me on to the next gas station to find an ATM, but when I got there, it was broken as well. I'd seen a sign that said three kilometers to the next town, so I headed off to the next town. By the time Scott called me on the phone, I realized that I was in the middle of nowhere and there were no towns and I must have read the sign wrong. But Scott had finally started the car (Praise God!) and with me headed down the highway (thankfully in the right direction) he caught up with me and we headed--again--for the guest house.

We arrived about nine o'clock and the wonderful hosts had saved us roast beef, mashed potatoes and gravy. The only problem was that I was so tired and hungry after eating so little all day, that I crashed and was asleep within a few minutes. I'm feeling much better today. Our cars in the shop, the flat tires being fixed, and while the kids are working on school work, I plan to start working on my Zondervan edits.

Depending on the car situation, we're hoping to spend tomorrow at the game park, though I might just curl up and sleep. :-)




  1. Blessings on your journey.

  2. I don't know how you do it. After a day like that, I'd probably be tomorrow's headline.

  3. Trust me, it wasn't day I plan to repeat anytime soon. Today was much more normal. Writing, school, and a movie at the mall. :-)

  4. Anonymous3:38 PM

    Is it just the angle on that picture, or is Gabe really just a few inches shorter than Scott? Hardly seems possible, but then I remember when Jayden was born. I do read your blog reguarly (the feedblitz emails are great) and pray for you and your family. Keep in mind that your children will always remember not only the adversities you've faced but the way God carried you through them. Donna T.

  5. No, it's not the angle of the photo. I can hardly believe it, but it won't be long until he's taller than Scott! Great words of encouragement. Thank you. While they might not completely appreciate all they've been able to experience, it's fun to hear them talk about life here and their adventures. Thanks for your prayers!

  6. Linda4:08 PM

    I can so relate to your African trip. We had some people from our church go on a missions trip. Almost to a "T" they described the difficulties they encounted reaching point A to point B. One difficult place to get around it. But their trip won souls for the Lord, so it was worth it all. Thank you for sharing.

  7. Praise God for the results, Linda. That's what makes it all worthwhile. Life is certainly never dull here! :-)