Our 36 Day God Adventure in the Bandundu

Day 24 : Wednesday, September 28, 2011

It's raining!  This is the first time we are having to pack up for a travel day in the rain.  Wonder what this will mean for our roads and especially the very bad one from here to Sala.  Pastor Muzau says that if we don't have problems (!) we should be in Vanga by 2 or 3 this afternoon.  I guess that doesn't sound too bad.
Unfortunately the roads have been damaged again from the heavy rains of the last few days.   Large parts have eroded leaving huge craters and cracks.  So many stops to dig and fill in the holes so that the car can pass.  On days like today it feels like we've spent a lifetime in the back of this car.  They loaded more of the weight inside the car this time rather than on top which means we feel a bit more packed to the gills. 
We pass by where the truck had gone over the edge the week before.  It is still there upside down at the bottom of the ravine.  We heard that the driver was alone and survived the fall although he lost some fingers.  Seeing the truck and the drop, it's a miracle he's alive.  Very sobering.  Thankful again for how our God has protected us - just so much can go wrong.
Speaking of things going wrong, after one particularly big jostle, we hear a loud metal noise.  When we stop to verify we find out that the whole baggage carrier on the roof has snapped and is part way off the roof of the car.  Once again God has protected us.  But now what to do?  Everything has to be unloaded from the carrier and then it is refastened in place with ropes; this will have to do until we get to Vanga where we can get it resoldered.  Then everything heavy now has to be put into the car.  What's left is put back on the roof racks.  I thought it was full before but now we can barely see outside.  Throughout the rest of the trip we have to constantly hold on to things to keep them from shifting too much.
We came to one point in the road where it was completely impassable.  A crew of guys were filling in the huge ruts with parts of trees and then covering them with sand.  It took a while but we were finally able to pass.  While they were working, the 3 of us women sat inside what looked vaguely like a bus stop.  We discovered that it was actually the local "phone booth".  Two young guys showed up with their cell phones, attached them to a pole and then others arrived from the village to make their calls.  Pretty ingenious!  I guess this was the only spot in the area where there was a network and they were probably the only two villagers with phones.  At any rate it was nice to know that we were entering an area where we can have outside contact.
We crossed the river on the same boat that we had taken 4 days previously.  It was so pretty.  I found out that Mama Esther, another member of the mission team, would be joining us in Vanga.  She lost her oldest son a week or so before we left Kin and so we haven't seen her since then.
Well 2 and 3 PM come and go and we still aren't at Vanga.  We finally pull in around 4.  It is a very large village/mission station.  We're directed to the Guesthouse where we will be staying.  This time we will all be lodged together which is a nice change. There are 5 bedrooms and two bathrooms, indoors, that is!  A front porch, sitting area, dining room area and a kitchen, though the actual cooking is done outside. There's even running water (I don't have that back in Kinshasa!) and we're told there's electricity for a couple of hours in the evening which will allow everyone to charge up phones, computers and cameras.  Rather a nice change after Sala!
We are all very tired - I think it's the accumulation so it's good to have a nice set up.  We're told that sometimes down at the river you can see hippos - even up to 9 of them.  Let's hope we get that chance while we're here.
We heard that Mama Esther arrived around 8 this morning.  A while after we arrived she comes.  Good to see her.  Over supper we tell her about some of our experiences and adventures and we all laugh together at the funny stories.  I realize that this trip is binding us all together as we create a common story.
I feel sorry for Françoise.  She has to be tired like the rest of us but she still has to go to the market to buy things for supper and then prepare them.  Such a hard worker.  On the trip here during one of the stops, kids gathered around.  They had been out collecting mushrooms so we bought some as part of our supper.  We are all feeling tired so headed to our rooms once we had finished eating.
We are once again in a very narrow single bed - we shall have to see how that goes.  Glad to have been able to check emails tonight.


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