Saturday, July 11, 2009

Team is on the ground

Everyone who is supposed to be here is here. We still have a handful of stragglers that aren't scheduled to arrive until tomorrow and will travel from Livingstone to Namwianga Mission with a group of Livingstone Nurses who are coming to participate, but the majority of the American team is here.

The flights arrived on time just after noon today, and they all brought out their luggage, labeled it with special colored tape and house numbers and we put it on the back of a lorry (truck). We strapped it down and sent it on its way in advance.

Everyone looked a bit stunned, that 18+ hour over-the-water flight really takes it out of you. We had arranged for three Coaster buses to be there to transport our team to the mission, but one of the buses didn't show, so at the last minute we crammed everyone into two buses. Unfortunately for a few, the bus (we had labled it bus #3) broke down a few miles out of town.

I was driving a small vehicle and turned around to find them and our local mechanic Martin Mwembeli had them running again in about 10 minutes, or at least that is what we thought:-)
It stopped again after about another 20 miles. (at least this time I had the good sense to stay back with the mechanic). So I sent Martin back to Livingstone to get his tools, and called Namwianga by cell phone and had Jay Starky start toward us in an old yellow school bus. I figured Martin would beat him to us, but there was no assurance that we could get the Coaster running again, so we just let them race to fix our problem.

Being on the side of the highway stranded is not a nice place to be in Zambia. The traffic doesn't tend to slow down at all, but having 40 white folk standing by the side of the road at least got a lot of people's attention.

Martin made it back first and was able to get the Coaster running. Eventually Jay showed up in the yellow-dawg and we loaded a few of the passengers on it and headed out. It wasn't long till the Coaster died again, so we loaded the remaining passengers on the Yellow-dawg and headed home. The empty Coaster passed us along the way. If none of this is making sense to you, then perhaps you are actually getting the point:-)

In any case, we all arrived safely at the mission, and I was so impressed and touched by the group that rode the Yellow-dawg down an hours worth of incredibly dusty and hot roads. It was a full day of travel that should have taken a few hours, but they were kind and gracious.

Tomorrow we will disperse to one of three church assemblies, and then join all of the wonderful Zambian volunteers for our longest information meeting. When it is all said and done we will have well over 230 individuals to move, feed, house etc. for the next two weeks, and I can't wait.

Thanks for your prayers and thoughts.

We will do our best to post daily, but sometimes it is just impossible to make it happen.