I figure what a better way to break in the new and improved blog by sharing a near- death experience. Okay, it wasn’t quite that bad, but it could have ended badly.
Monday and Tuesday I made a little trip out to the village with a coworker, a trustee from my organization and a volunteer. I am not cut out for life in the village long-term, but I really enjoy short visits. I needed a break from the office, so I tagged along.
I was a good little Logistics Coordinator and I followed my own advice and checked the fluids and the tires before we left.
I started out by running into the péage, which is like a toll both. It was just the mirror and it didn’t do any damage, just a little scratch on the plastic.
This little village was off of a road that was a little bumpy. It was basically like driving on rumble strips for an hour and a half. If someone besides me was driving it probably would have been only an hour, but it took us 1 1/2.
We got to the village no problem.
After dinner, we set up our tent. Inside the house. The coworker I was with had a bad experience over Christmas with rats eating her hair, so we solved the problem by sleeping in a tent inside. Please just imagine the 30 kids crowded in the doorway watching the crazy white people set up a tent inside. Hilarious.
We had our meeting and got ready to leave. I opened my door and the side mirror that I had hit fell off. Not the whole thing, just the actual mirror part, which was actually just a replacement glued in, but still an important part of driving here.
So we load up and of course there were about 7 people who needed a ride, so we all piled in and started down the road. This village had a bicycle path but no road, so it was a little hard to tell what was going on with the road conditions. We got to the next village and the road that was actually big enough for my truck and dropped a few people off and started down the road.
I said I thought I had a low tire, so we stopped and looked and decided it wasn’t too low to make it to the next village to air up, rather than changing the tire.
Went to the next village and they didn’t have anything to put air in truck tires, just bikes and the kid ended up letting more air out.
We loaded back up and continued on. I started feeling something bump under my feet, but we couldn’t figure out what it was. Then, I started feeling it in the steering wheel. Couldn’t figure out what it was, so we just continued slowly to the next village. There, we discovered one of the lug nuts was missing, one bolt had snapped and ALL of them were loose on that tire. The tire shop guys did I don’t know what and we got back in and started down the road. Remember this road is like driving on rumble strips, so it’s hard to tell what’s going on.
Got about 2 seconds down the road and I stopped because something wasn’t right. Oh, that was because they didn’t tighten the nuts when we stopped. I was really thankful for the volunteer being male, because normally I’m the one that has to do these things. He tightened them and we continued to the next town, where we hoped to buy a new lug nut.
We arrived in that town and realized that the missing lug nut wasn’t just missing, the bolt had also broken. So we have 2 broken bolts and only 4 lug nuts holding on the wheel. We air up the tire, tighten the nuts and get back on the road. We had to be back by dark and it wasn’t something we could easily get repaired, so we just went back.
I drove slowly (even for me) and we stopped every 30 minutes to tighten the nuts and made it safely. The biggest disaster was the chicken we were given pooping in the floor.
I wasn’t panicked at the time, but this morning when I was talking to the office guys and the mechanic, I realized how big of a problem it could have been. Praise Jesus for protecting us! I also didn’t realize how stressful it was being the one driving when I knew there was a problem!
On a side note, if you’re even still reading, we had an awesome meeting with the women in that village. They are developing a farming project to help women in their area and had a GREAT plan. I’m super excited to see if it gets approved and what happens. We were seriously impressed by their proposal, they’re planning on raising sheep and eventually supporting a M from their association to go to another village with the money they make.
Check out BGR for awesome projects like this, as well as relief projects that are happening all over the world!