Pete’s Riverboat Reflections

Thursday, we were up and ready to go waiting for James to return from visiting a couple aunts he had not seen in 19 years. He had left before 5h30 to go visit them some distance away. His last time in his home village of Ulang was 1991! That’s a story for another day.

I was feeling much better, although weak. I had slept for over 3 hours straight for which I was very grateful. The Commissioner offered us a thin porridge made from only flour, water and sugar. It looked like thin, unset vanilla pudding. Of course they said it would be good for my stomach, but would it really? I tried some in a glass and it went down OK, tasted OK. I had some other butter kind of cookies and that was breakfast. We left at 9h50.

At 12h35 we stopped at Chuil for a greeting service with foot washing. This village on the south side of the Sobat has 2,173 refugees that returned from exile in Ethiopia. They returned because the UN wants them to and because they want to be here to vote in the referendum in January. They are struggling though, coming too late to plant gardens, not having any cattle and only some sheep and goats. I don’t know what they are living on. They asked for a fishing net and dugout to fish for food.

Left there at 14h10 for the last stretch to Malakal, but now, we also stopped for something to eat in Adong. Tried to make it fast food for everyone with them putting beans in bread for a sandwich. It had rained previously here and was the mud ever sticky and gooey! The Iowa mud sticks to your shoes, but not like this. Cindy would have 2-3″ to the bottom of her flip flops in 15 steps. I the same. Then it would fall off and you’d collect it again.

Pressing on and on and on. We had a few sprinkles and could see showers in other areas, but thankfully we only had a spotty drizzle. Enough to get us wet though. And of course, after we got back on the Nile, one more time we ran out of fuel. We were again maybe 30 min away from our destination. We did have fuel in another barrel, but the driver said he couldn’t open the bung. Can you believe it? After about 10 min though he got it open and off we went, arriving at 19h50. A long day. Our buns were sore. There are only so many ways to sit on a hard fiberglass bench in a boat.

Cindy and I got to our room, got some supper, cleaned up and went straight to bed. I found one more thing that I don’t enjoy about some of these hotels–a broken bed. The bottom is made of plywood that should be supported all the way across; there is a box spring on that. My bed only had supports at the head and feet and along one side. Its a nice sag if you like that 🙁

Thanks for your prayers for safe travels and strength to endure. That’s what this last stretch was.

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