Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A trip, and a demoralizing experience.

Last week 8 people piled into the Nissan Patrol and set off for Solwezi. The road was surprisingly passable, and despite the weight on the truck we got through the mud without adventure. While there is no way to give you a real idea of the roads out here without driving over them yourself, here is a picture of the truck hood after we got to Solwezi--rather Pollockesk, eh?

Sadly, the purpose of the trip was to drop these dear people off, the work team from Sudbury who had made the last few week so much fun. I so appreciated their fellowship, the laughter, the food, and the shelves that Beth's dad built for me. I was truly sorry to see them go, and hope that our paths will cross again some day.

After dropping the team off, Beth, Sharese and I continued on to Kitwe where we managed to accomplish the following:

* Dental visits for Beth and I--I got my filling replaced and had my teeth cleaned within an inch of their lives for just over $100. I can't get over how much cheaper dental work is over here!
* Some lovely Indian food and a good visit with my Sri Lankan friends.
* Sharese got her emigration stuff sorted out.
* We all did some shopping.
* I found a pair of sneakers and a pair of sandals that FIT in the men's section of Bata--I have been woefully low on shoes.
* I mailed out some letters and a parcel--now I know where the post office is in Kitwe!
* I found a teacher's manual to a Zambian book that I thought did not have available answer keys anymore--score!
* There may have been some gelato eaten at the lovely place in the new shopping center.

Yesterday Beth, Sharese, and I decided to go into Ikelenge to pick up the mail, check out the veggies in the market, and to pick up a few other odds and ends. We went in Jill's little Toyota Hilux which she very generously lent to me while she is away this holiday, and when we headed home we decided to go by a different road as the Fisher road is pretty washed out in a few places. Well, that turned out to be a bad decision! We saw a terrible patch of mud that we knew the 2 wheel drive would never get through up ahead, so I brilliantly decided to try and turn around. I managed to get us stuck in a ditch. After some unavailing efforts on our part, some Zambians came and helped us get out. Since there was no way to turn around, I tried to back up the road until I found a place where I could turn around without getting the truck stuck. No good--I got stuck again. Again the Zambians helped us get it out, but in the process dug out the road so much that I couldn't get past the spot and slid right back into the very muddy patch. We had to call for Phil to come rescue us with his landcruiser--let me tell you, those things are pretty amazing! I got towed through some terrible mud, up banks, and generally on the most wild ride of my life before we got through all the bad spots. I was so thankful that Phil was there with his 4 wheel drive, and that my dad had insisted that I learn how to tow and be towed! We three girls were muddy up to our knees by the end of our adventure, and very glad to make it back to the station. Sadly, that section of road is pretty badly torn up. Should be interesting trying to get through that if the rain doesn't let up anytime soon... TIA!

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