Where is AAA when you need them?

Yes, where is AAA when you run out of gas on a trip, or did we forget to add the coverage for a river trip in Sudan? Maybe we were a bit out of their network of accepted road(boat?) side assistance? Oops. At any rate, after a 2hr 40 min wait, a boat with gas to get us going did show up and we were on our way again. Here’s the story.

Wednesday we left Akobo at 6:12am to start our return to Malakal. Our goal was to get to James Tang’s home village of Ulang and spend the night. The trip went well until we ran out of gas about half an hour from Nasir. We floated into the small village of Nyariew – only a group of half a dozen houses along the river – where we waited for fuel.

Nyariew- view along river

Thankfully there was cell phone coverage from Nasir so they could call and request a boat to come with fuel!

Top: Girls pounding grain, Bottom: Kids watching us

The people in Nyariew were very hospitable and invited us to get out of the sun in the small Presybeterian Church Of Sudan (PCOS). They also brought us some Nuer tea, a sweet tea to which they add some cloves, and a dish called “walwal.” This is kind of a corn porridge, but the corn is a bit sour from the preparation process. They served it with hot milk and sugar. We passed on the non-pasteurized milk. Cindy cautioned me to only have a small portion because of the sourness and my unsettled stomach from the day before so that’s what I did. But that didn’t turn out to be the wisest move.

Finally, the boat with gas arrived, we got fueled and were back on our way to Nasir. Once we reached Nasir, this turned into a much longer stop than Cindy and I thought it would be….welcome to Africa travels. We got more gas (55 gal drum) for our 8-hour trip back to Malakal, plus lunch, bathroom and the inevitable discussions accompanying any trip in Africa. We also added a Major who urgently needed to see his injured wife in Malakal; read: more weight to burn more fuel and make the trip longer. We left at 4:00pm and arrived at Ulang at 6:00pm where we went immediately to a service with foot washing. I was now starting to feel a civil war erupt in my stomach. After the service I went and laid down on one of the beds brought in preparation for some to sleep outside. No supper for me. We – James, the Major, Cindy and me – were taken to stay at the commissioner’s house which had nicer accomodations. The night passed…slowly…and then I finally slept. I was grateful to feel much better in the morning; the civil war was over.

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