12 January 2008

A Story of Survival...

This is a story of survival…the survival of 2 boys and their dad the first 4 hours after dropping mom/wife off at the airport…

After an hour drive to the airport we dropped Christine off giving hugs and kisses to last for 2 weeks… Noah understood that mom is going to Florida first although he has decided that we need to go see her in 2 days… Kadin didn’t get it and was upset that mom got to go on a plane and he couldn’t…

As Christine walked into the terminal I cranked the steering wheel to pull out and drive away without hitting the surrounding taxis… there was a loud sound like I hit another car and everyone turned around to look… I checked around and hadn’t hit a thing so I took off and our journey home began…

Noah sang Christmas carols for the first 10km of the trip…until the car started jumping up and down and swerving back and back and forth on the road… as I braked the car started swerving more so I took my foot off the brake and let the car roll to a stop… we went in and out of the oncoming traffic but fortunately our car was bigger so they swerved to get out of the way…

We stopped next to a large grass field and on the other side of the road was Lake Victoria… I thought that we had blown a tire but when I got out all 4 wheels were in tact… 2 Ugandan men were cutting grass with machetes and came over to see what was wrong with the mizungus…

Neither one spoke a word of English… which makes sense since their job is to slash weeds… so I tried to communicate… "genda mechanica shilling"… which translates… “go mechanic money”… my luganda isn’t great but with hand motions they understood that I would pay them to ride their bike and go get a mechanic… neither were interested but just wanted to watch…

I called my mechanic who was in Kabalagala about 40km away… he speaks English but I still need to translate what he said… basically it was “dude, its 5 o’clock on Friday and there is no way I’m coming out their to help you, good luck!”

So I did what any sensible person would do… I got back in the car and started driving again… the road ahead was straight which worked to my advantage because the steering no longer worked… so we went at a snails pace for 2 km until we saw a Petrocity…

The first 3 workers wouldn’t help and said the mechanic was gone… finally I went inside the mini-mart… don’t imagine AM/PM… and the girl behind the counter pointed to a mechanic… he crawled under the car and saw the problem right away…

This is a little technical but I don’t know any other way how to describe it… the little metal bar that isn’t the axle but still affects the steering had snapped it two… so we crossed the street to the local welding shop… although its not a shop but more like a wooden hut built with scraps that had be rounded up on an old construction site…

The welder said it would be fixed in 30 minutes… being that we were right next to Entebbe Road with no room to play other than in the middle of the busy highway the boys had to stay in the car…but it was still around 90 degrees in the shade so I rolled down all the windows and filled their cups with water…

As we waited for 130 minutes for the welder to do his work the boys drank 2 liters of water and ate every cookie and cracker I could find in their backpacks and stuck below the seats… we had relay races from the front seat to the back of the car, wrestling matches in the middle row and a number of talks about patience…

I ended up having to pay the guy $18 even though I’m pretty sure the going rate for emergency welding is $12 and by 7:45 PM we were in Kampala and in search of dinner…

We stopped at our favorite pizzeria… there is a reason for the last 4 letters of that word is because in Uganda there is no limit for the number of days that food can stay under a heat lamp… I had also never been their on a Friday night and didn’t realize that the Al’s Bar next door overflowed into the pizzeria…the boys didn’t notice a thing and devoured their pasta and a scoop of ice-cream…

At last we made it home and had a quick bath before bed… we survived and we only have 260 hours left to go until we see Christine… I think we’ll survive…

2 comments:

John said...

My experience has taught me that if a car makes a sound,it's a real problem. Just cause you don't see it, doesn't mean it didn't happen.

The steering thingy is a big deal. God was watching out for you guys once again.Isn't it amazing how He knows when you are in trouble.

Lena said...

Good luck Jeff, you'll need it (and a lot of pray too =)