10.17.2010

The Trip North

The Trip North

Well, we're here.

Actually, we've been here for two weeks now, but I haven't had
internet access until now. Thank you for your prayers and your
patience!

Wow, so much has happened! The trip north from Nairobi to Mundri took
about three and a half days--long days. The four of us, Luke and I,
Jared, and Eric left Nairobi about noon on Tuesday, the 28th of
September. We slept around a fire the first night beside the road,
high up in the Kenyan mountains. We were surrounded by beautiful pine
trees, and it got quite cold--not exactly what I had expected! The
next day however, we descended into the furnace. The winding road
took us abruptly out of the woods and down into the desert, and the
scenery changed to scrub brush, termite mounds, and camels.

I really enjoyed seeing all the different vistas, which was fortunate,
because I had an unobstructed view of these changes from my perch on
the back of our loaded truck--the seat I maintained for the entire
journey :) We arranged the luggage so that Luke's motorbike was in
the middle of the truck bed with our bags on either side, our
thermarests and blankets arranged on top, and then a large tarp over
all that with tie-downs running over everything. Don't worry Mom, I
was in no danger of falling off; the two of us who were riding in the
back reclined underneath the tie-downs. I even managed to doze a few
times :)

Anyway, we continued through the desert, stopping at a town called
Lodwar that evening. Jared has a friend, David, who works at the
petrol station in Lodwar, and he invited us to his compound for the
night. I was really touched by David's generous spirit. Not only did
he allow us to spend the night at his house, and feed us two meals,
but because he has a job that provides some amount of steady income
(although meager), he has taken on the task of providing for his
brothers, his mother, some of his wife's siblings, nephews in school,
and so on. He really takes Paul's injunction for believers to care
for their family members seriously.

The next morning we made it to the Sudanese border, and after quite a
bit of negotiation, paperwork, and taxation, we were allowed into the
country. As Jared and Luke were busy with all that, I made friends
with several of the soldiers sitting around. They were quite
interested in America and seemed to think that all of my explanations
were hilarious. One of the things that struck them as particularly
funny was my attempt to explain why I was not yet married. Most of
them had several wives, but I, a comparatively wealthy, healthy man of
marriageable age, had none. When I explained that I was waiting to
find the right one, they roared with laughter. "You have spent 23
years in America and you haven't found the right one yet?" they asked.
"Maybe after another 23 you will find her!" "Perhaps I will find one
here in South Sudan," I said. This was greeted with additional
laughter, and they kindly explained that I didn't have enough cows to
buy a Sudanese wife. "You would need at least 100 cows," they told
me. Apparently I'm too picky for an American wife and too poor for a
Sudanese one. I guess I'll have to wait a while longer :)

We spent a short night a little ways into Sudan, at the town of
Kapoeta. It was considered a full day of driving to reach Juba, and
we needed to go at least 4 hours past Juba, to Mundri. Friday morning
we headed out at 4:00 am, and fortunately, due to the hard work of the
UN World Food Programme workers who were doing some road renovations,
we made it to Juba around 2:00. After some more hassles in Juba,
which left me with a distinct aversion to the town, we left for Mundri
around 5:30, less some money, and carrying another passenger (a friend
of the military police who stopped us at the checkpoint on the way out
of town and who wanted a ride to Mundri.) This made for a rather
crowded four hours, as the volume of the money we left behind was more
than taken up by the person we picked up. Needless to say, we were
grateful to arrive at Frontline's compound in Mundri shortly after
9:00 pm Friday evening. It was quite the trip, and we're very
thankful that God kept us safe and enabled us to arrive without any
major delays. I hope to be able to post some pictures of the trip in
a little while.

Excelsior

3 comments:

  1. Oh man! That must have been a funny conversation with the soldiers! I think a S. Sudanese wife would be a wonderful addition to the family - although the lack of cows does pose a problem. Oh well... I love you! Thanks for all the blogs! I've enjoyed reading them SO much :) :)

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  2. Well, since God owns the cattle on a thousand hills, I'm sure 100 cows isn't too much for Him to provide. I would enjoy attending a Sudanese wedding... ;)

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  3. Talking to the locals is a lot of fun. Last weekend one of my fellow volunteers started talking to a Maasai man, asking him about his village, how many people lived there and if he had any wives yet. He responded, with apparently seriousness, that he didn't have a wife yet because he was waiting for a nice white girl to marry so they could have children like Obama...

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