Our team is back from a retreat we took with Sonny and Eunice Guild, who were visiting from Abilene. Sonny and Eunice trained Jason, Erin, Jeremy and I for a year before we came to Zambia. They came for a two week visit, and it was so wonderful to have them here. We were fortunate to keep them in our home, and they spoiled us with pancakes and chai tea!
Our team packed up last week for a few days away for our team retreat. We were going to be staying in safari tents about five hours from where we live. It was a great few days away from our bushy homes, and we were able to enjoy a lake, wild game and restaurant while we were there. We were also able to reevaluate our work together and how we can encourage each other and be unified in Mumena.
The most hilarious part of the week (not so hilarious at the time) was when half of our team got stuck out in the middle of the game park. Jeremy and I had decided to ride around with the Love family (who also had their four small children with us) to go look for animals around our campsite. We were about three miles from camp when it happened. From this point on, I’ll let Jeremy pick up the story.
I pulled around the dirt road having just seen giraffe, water buck, and a host of other animals when I faced two obstacles that hindered me from returning safely back to camp. The road looked passable, and I was confident I could navigate around the dark, dense mud. As I picked up speed to cross through, I here Whitney yell from the back seat, “Wait I need to role my window up!” Fearing to carry a soggy wife back to my tent, I slowed down to all of our despair. My lack of speed caused my front right wheel to sink into the sodden earth. All 9 of us filed out of the vehicle as Rick and I brainstormed how to get out of this mess. Regretting the choice to wear Chacos, I was ankle deep in mud that was certainly mixed with all sorts of African droppings trying to shove branches under the tires to gain some traction. After many failed attempts, we were rescued by our other teammates who drove up behind us. With ease, their four wheeled savior pulled us from our predicament. Little did the men know as complaints welled up in our minds of our muddiness, the women and children were fighting off a hoard of fire ants running down the dirt path shredding any article of clothing possible to release the stinging buggers. We all recovered from the trauma, piled back in the trucks and made it past our first obstacle. Little did we know that the worst was yet to come. On the other side of the first mud pit stood a large puddle of water hiding unknown depths. I only had one choice. Pass to the right where there was enough visible ground to cross. Rolling up all the windows, I picked up speed and rushed through the mud pit to no avail. We were stuck. Instead of one tire it was all four with jelloy mud up to the axle. Our teammates behind us in the other truck found a clear route and got out in front of us. Safely evacuating our crew, we hooked the truck up and with several tries were unsuccessful. However, we were successful in getting our other vehicle stuck. The African bush is not known for its reliable cell service, and the sun was setting over the landscape, though breathtaking, promised a bit of danger. The only option was for me to run the three miles back to camp to inform our other team members. Leaving 15 people piled in the back of a pick up, I headed out with my little dinky flashlight through the jungle. Well aware of the dangers in the jungle, especially at night, I ran pretty fast. Huffing and puffing through the jungle with rubbed-raw feet, one hand holding my heavy with mud pants up and yelling every 10 yards to scare off any wild animals in my path, I’m knew I looked like easy prey to be devoured. Sure I was going to die from exhaustion, I kept thinking of my wife and the women and children depending on me for their survival. I trekked on. Wadding through a knee high crocodile inhabited river, stepping in various types of poo, and wrapped in spider webs I finally saw a light in the distance that pushed me the last mile of my 3.5 mile run, which I was ill prepared for to say the least. I arrived back at camp, arranged transport for my team, a tractor for the trucks, and was relieved to see my wife had survived the event. We returned with a good story, then I crashed in bed only to wake up with Malaria!
This is a true story written from my brave husband’s perspective! We are safe now back in Kaondeland and are preparing for our month long church leader seminar.
Thanks for keeping up!