Sunday, September 4, 2011

The LONGEST day ever in Liberia...

Have you ever had those times in your life when the situation you are in is so ZEEDONKULOUS that you can't help but laugh-cuz if you don't you may cry?  Well I had an afternoon like that on Thursday...mercy-mama told me there would be days like this! 

The past week we have had a great team from our home church in Salmon Arm visiting-it is always nice having people from your hometown come to visit-they know people you know, your family, the best place for pie and can give you the scoop on the changes that are taking place back at home.  Well, they were here doing a 3 day- day-camp in Karpie and Kimbolou, 2 of the many villages we work in.  The road to Karpie and Kimpolou is, well, lets just say challenging...There are a couple very, very, steep hills that when they get wet-become slippery, snotty, ice rinks of red and black mud...

After a great morning with the kids of the Karpie and Kimbolou and handing out shoe boxes it was time to leave. One of our pickup trucks left earlier to return to our Foya base- which is about a 20min drive.  When we left we noticed our SP driver (of the truck that left earlier) walking on the dirt trail/road towards us.  My heart sank-either he was stuck or broken down...well I had one right!

The beginning of a long afternoon...

Aaron (the truck, not person-we name all of our vehicles!) had spun out trying to get up the muddy steep hill and slipped down into the ditch (see above photo).  Now the other truck you see, is Sapheria-which is parked on little log bridge-so you can understand the predicament we were in!  Sapheria managed to get around and up the hill to then attempt to pull Aaron up the hill...however, this was not meant to be.  After a lot of smoking tires-and noise-poor Sapheria's clutch went out-thus begun my longest day ever in Liberia...

To make a long story short-we had to wait for two more SP trucks to come and tow Sapheria-(clutch was burnt out) and get Aaron up the hill-it was stuck in the slick mud about half way up.  We took the opportunity to take some pictures while we waited...
Totally posing for the camera!

The next few hours consisted of this: Remember the trucks have names -these are not people I am talking about!
Jo, Alisa (whose flip flops got taken in the truck with the team so she went barefoot for the next 3 hours!) and I.
  • Pushing Aaron up the orange muddy hill
  • More staff from Foya base arrive -Joni, Alisa and I were already there and I sent the team back in another truck, Isaac (not my son).
  • Sapheria getting towed by Boaz (who does not have 4 wheel drive)
  • Esua towing Aaron
  • Boaz gets stuck due to the lacking 4 wheel drive
  • Staff push Boaz
  • Boaz can't tow Sapheria
  • Isaac -the truck-returns
  • Isaac pulls Boaz
  • Esua blow a radiator hose (which sounded like a bomb going off and scared the bajeebies out of all of us!) and it's fan belts bust off.
  • Esua is fixed
  • Staff push Esua-which is towing Aaron..
This went on for about 3-4 truck pulling another, getting stuck, breaking down, mud flying, sweat dripping...

Resting on Esau, which is pulling Isaac-which is pulling Sapheria...

When we were pushing the back tires spit up mud-as you can see my right side was covered!

Despite all the things that went wrong, our staff smiled, joked, pushed and took a bad situation and turned it into a time of bonding through a trial.  We worked together, sweating side by side-encouraging each other-and cheering when one truck would finally make it up a hill.  I was glad I was there-was it frustrating? Yes, of course, but I was with people who I love working with-who put it all into perspective for me.  We travel these roads and trails to get to people who need help, who have been forgotten by others because they dare not travel these roads-our staff go to places that are not always the easiest, rarely complaining, smiles on their faces-thankful for everyday. 

Finally, back at base-dirty, thirsty and tired!

I spent a lot of time in mud growing up as a miners daughter in the Yukon, who knew I would still be 'playing' in it 25 years later in Africa!  Running behind trucks-pushing them up hills made me very thankful that I do run to stay in shape! HA!  A long day turned into an afternoon working side by side with our staff to get a job done.  I am so thankful that I get to share these experiences with great people -great friends-and great staff... To say the least, I slept like a baby that night!

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