Screench – crunkle – wumpety

blog screench 9.13

We had a plan.  We were going to drive to Yaounde in the usual approximate 9 hours.  We were going to get our friend, Johanna, into town in time to catch her midnight flight to Sweden.  We were going to get Josh, our personal nerd, back with his family.  We had various things on our Yaounde to-do list to take care of. We had a plan.  Sometimes I think when we have a plan, the Lord smiles, maybe even chuckles.  Not out of gleeful spite, but like a papa would grin as his child ran into a challenge and conquered it, coming out stronger at the other end.  We had a plan.   We woke up to rain at 5am, which had calmed to a light patter while we loaded our truck at a little after 7.  In this neck of the woods, rain means no work, or at least delayed work.  We went to the immigration office to check our friends out of the country (we had sadly neglected to do that the day before) and we had to send for and wait for the commissioner to come to work and stamp and sign their passports, which took time.   We arrived at the river, the border between CAR and Cameroon, and because of the unrest in CAR the border guards have new rules about checking papers and searching vehicles.  So, in the rain, they checked our papers and did a cursory search and waved us on.  We got to the border town and checked our friends into Cameroon, which took time.  Then we were good to go.  We had a plan.  To arrive to Yaounde by 7pm, given the delays.  The dirt road was muddy, and had deteriorated so that Roy was driving slower than usual.  We came upon a flash flood over the road, so Roy put on the 4 wheel drive and plowed through it, putting a layer of mud on the truck up to the door handles.  That took time.  We got to the pavement – YIPPEEE!!!! – for the last half of our long days’ drive, but decided that we really needed to get the mud off the truck at a little car wash stand.   That took time.  We arrived to the outskirts of Yaounde a little after dark, and were making our way in the bumper to bumper, in the dark with no streetlights, crazy, horrible, but typical traffic.  That took time.  Then we heard a screench crunkle sound on the back right side of our truck as Roy was inching his way forward, at maybe 4 mph.  Someone back there, in the dark, started yelling, “you ruined my car!!!!”   Then, there he was, a man in a suit and tie, standing in front of our truck refusing to let us move forward, even to pull over out of the traffic.  People were honking and trying to pass around us on a very tight 2 lane road.  Roy was saying “I didn’t hit anybody!”, and a couple of policemen (very calm and polite) arrived.  We explained that we needed to get our friend to her flight on time, so they took our truck papers and let us go on the promise that we would return to the nearby police precinct.  We went to our friends’, the Turks’, home, where they were waiting supper for us, arriving at about 8:30pm, I’m guessing.  Roy and Luke Turk and a very helpful and knowledgeable admin guy, Norbert, went to the police station.  With prayerful hearts we watched them go off, hoping for the best but thinking of the possibility of arrest and of vehicle impounding…   We as yet did not understand what actually had happened.  They got to the police station indicated, and they said no report had been filed but that they had heard the news of it on their radio system.  He told our guys to go back to the road and look for a policeman.  In the dark, where?!  They went back there, parked, and had just started to look when a policeman walked up to them and proceeded to help them.  He filled out Roy’s ID information and calmly handed back all the truck papers, asked how long we’d be in country, commented on the insurance claim, and that was that!  He read to them from the accident report that the man who yelled at us about ruining his car had opened his door without looking, and we then understood that his door crumpling was what we had heard.  So we have a long scratched up dent on our truck, but no one was hurt and we had the best possible outcome of a bad situation – no fights, no bribes, no overnight in jail, and all our papers in hand.   Johanna got on her flight by way of a taxi, the Shinars were reunited and got a ride home so their 2 year old got to bed, we had a bit of a visit with Yaounde friends and we were in bed ourselves by about 1am.  Roy has always hated driving in Yaounde, especially in the dark, so this was not the happiest thing to have happen.  We had a plan, and things took time, more time than we expected, but we were protected from harm, and things worked out in the end.  Thank you, Lord!!

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About danforth

As Covenant missionaries, we are working with all the tribal groups of the Central African Republic (CAR) but are trying to give special attention to the Fulani, a Musxlim, cattle herding, and semi-nomadic people group. We live on an experimental/training farm, near a mission station which has a hospital plus bible and nursing schools. We are establishing relationships with the local people groups through compassion ministries; Roy through agriculture and Aleta through public health and visitation, in order, ultimately, to share the good news of Jesus the Messiah with them. CAR is one of the least developed countries in the world and is currently in continual crisis (since the coup in March 2013), so reaching out in compassion is key to reaching their hearts. Due to the ongoing conflict and resultant ethnic cleansing in CAR, we are crossing the border to interact with our Fulani contacts.
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