Camping in the Boat
There are simply too many days and experiences between the last entry and this one to write about, I will simply have to jump right in and catch you up as we go along. Last week Lesley was asked to join a medical team from the states to evaluate some clinics in Lusaka. This required me to baby sit the kids while she went and did her thing. The story begins Wednesday, after our time in Lusaka had come to a close. We had loaded up the truck. Cleaned out the room. Loaded the boat up and payed for our stay. The boat needed some work done to it so I brought it in this trip and was now taking it back to Luangwa.
By 1130 we were on the road headed home. We were loaded down so the trip was slow and low. We stopped in to the fruit market in Chongwe and picked up a bag of oranges and a watermelon. With the exception of some strong winds, the trip was rolling along smoothly. Just before Rufunsa, about 3 hours outside of Lusaka, there was an oddly placed police check. I knew the officers there so I started in on some small talk. One of them said to me the trailer wheel looked off. I jumped out to take a peek and sure enough, the hub on the axel was missing, as was all the grease and bearings. I am not sure how the tire was still on. Had we not stopped at this police check we would have hit the mountains just ahead and who know what would have happened.
It’s 1530 and I am placing the first call for help to Lusaka. Another miracle that we broke down in an area with cell coverage. The beauty of our organization is what is to come. Our LC made some arrangements in town and soon there would be a truck on its way to help us out. Knowing that there was at least a 3-hour wait, we decided to jump out and play at the church across the street. They were preparing to put a new thatch roof onto one of the buildings so they had piles of grass laying around. These piles made a great place to lay down and take a nap. The kids played. Other kids came running over to play. Someone came over selling popcorn. We were in the shade. It was really a beautiful place to break down. I think the only concern was we were down to one bottle of water so we had to be sparing.
The long lonely road to home
Kamilulu Baptist Church
The swat flies were tough
Use your time wisely
Around 1630 I busted out the watermelon and some of the oranges. Tyler and I started moving some of the items that were in the boat into the truck in anticipation of the guys getting to us. After some phone calls and the guys having to buy some bearings I determined they would get to us around 2000. At 1800 the sun was almost gone from the sky and we were all in the boat counting stars as they came out. Don’t worry, I had pulled off the side of the road sufficiently. We were not in any danger of being hit by traffic and the road was straight so cars were able to see from both directions. (I think about 25 cars passed by us the whole time we were on the side of the road, give or take about 5.)
We sat around and played all kinds of games from pirates to dinosaur hunter. Mamma took advantage of the boat floor first and crawled into her prayer closet around 1845 while the kids were enjoying the “camping trip.” I pulled out my iPad and we watched some videos I had. Just after 1900 I heard some noise down the road. Mind you, we are in the middle of nowhere at this point. There are a few huts around and a church across the street, but literally nothing in this area. It sounded a lot like the Jesus film, so I asked Lesley if I could go investigate. I took Tyler and off we went. There was a Seventh-Day Adventist church down the road showing the Jesus film. How kool is that? It was so refreshing to hear God’s word being spoken in the still of the night. I greeted the leaders and stayed for a bit before we headed back to the truck. Tyler and I pretended like every car that came by, all 3 of them, was a dinosaur and we were dino hunters.
At 2000 I called to see where the truck was since I hadn’t heard from them in so long. The driver told me they were still in Lusaka trying to get fuel. You could feel it. It was like someone had popped the tires, let the wind out of the sails… choose your analogy. At this point I was trying to wrestle Colton down to the floor for a nap. Didn’t take too long. He was tired. Tyler and Kenley were still going and we were having so much fun on the best camping trip ever! Kenly held on until around 2045, then there were two. Tyler and I stayed up playing a game on my iPad. I wish you could have seen what my eyes saw. (If I had a Sony A7 SII I could have taken some pictures for you and you could have seen. This is not a plug for, or some sort of subliminal message to get you to purchase me one. However, if you wish you could have seen what my eyes saw then you are free to get us one, or let us borrow one, and I will send you all the pix you can handle.) There was no moon and no surrounding light of any kind. You could see all the stars in the sky. The only light around was coming from the iPad. Tyler and I were dirty as sin from all the work on the truck with no bath but we didn’t care. To look at my son, and see the fun and excitement he was having as he and I played that game brought me so much pride and joy.
We stayed up until around 2200 talking about how many stars there were and how God knew the names of them all. It was such a great time of father and son. These are times every daddy wants with their kids and I was so happy to have them with mine, even if they weren’t the circumstances I wished for. Dads, don’t miss these opportunities just because the circumstances aren’t what you ordered. Somewhere around 2200, I lost my co-pilot and it was just me. The night was perfect. There was a warm breeze and very few bugs. Around 2330 I felt myself dozing when the phone rang. The truck was close.
In short, when they arrived, we tried to fix the wheel. They didn’t have the exact bearings we needed but with a little ingenuity, they were able to put humpty dumpty back together again. We sealed it back up with a special, high speed, low drag, plastic bag and tie-tie. With zero confidence and a big smile I jumped behind the wheel for a short test run. It was now 0115. The truck followed me down the road to see if it worked and about 5 miles down the way I could see it smoking in the mirror. I pulled over to check it out and sure enough it had come loose again. This time we loaded everything up on the recovery truck. At 0215 we parted company and they went to Lusaka and we went to Luangwa.
We arrived home at 0450 to a gorgeous tiny sliver of a new, orange, moon rising over the river by the house. We brought in the all the essentials and got the house opened up and functional. After a quick shower and change of clothes we were finally ready to lay down and get some rest. It is now just after 0600 and the sun is already coming in the windows. The good news was that the kids were able to get a lot of rest on the boat and in the car. The bad news is that mamma and I were not so lucky and now that we wanted to rest the kids were ready to play. However, from the mouths of babes, that was the best camping trip EVER!!!