In spite of many challenges and some very real obstacles, we are enjoying a very successful race and covering much territory. WE ARE WINNING OUR RACE!
It is difficult to stop and find time to write, but we would love to share with you some of the many traffic scenes we encounter on every journey…
…… On the road …… or lack of road
In the UK we drive on the left side of the road.
In the USA we drive on the right side of the road.
In Mozambique we drive on what’s left of the road.
As someone said, “In first world countries you can tell a person is drunk when they drive all over the road from left to right. In Mozambique, there are so many huge pot holes, you can tell a person is drunk if he is driving straight.”
We often catch part of our bull bars in the photo, to show we are actually on the scene. These strong bull bars were designed by Rod. By the grace of God we have never injured or killed anyone, by the same grace the bars have many a times saved us and our Land Cruiser.
Like the time when:
………Fourteen goats came running full speed out the long grass onto the road in front of a rapid Rodney. The bull bars mowed them down and that was the end of the fourteen goats.
………and when Ellie landed the cruiser over a 15 foot cliff after slipping on diesel spilled onto the road. The cruiser landed on the bull bars, flipped onto the roof, then onto its wheels again. Without the bull bars??
………..And a few ambushes during Mozambique war where the bull bars mowed through branches and chopped down trees.
………..And when before morning light we came upon an unlit police control post where they had placed a heavy metal pole across the road, three feet off the ground. The police were fast asleep in a little hut alongside and were awakened by the loud crash and a pole flying through the air. We had to pay a fine for not stopping in time!
In some countries bull bars are illegal, how do people survive? I guess they drive on normal roads under normal circumstances.
OUR ROADS ARE HORRIBLE. Mozambique has one of the highest accident rates in the world. Vehicles are heavily overloaded and seldom roadworthy. Traffic police are stationed everywhere. They do stop vehicles for inspection but to receive bribes rather than give fines. They point out bald tyres, overload and multiple wrongs. Then they pocket the money and send them on their way to have………….……………HORRIBLE ACCIDENTS
On almost every journey we make, (and we are constantly making a journey), we see the signs of accidents. I am always relieved to find the police already on the scene, waving us by, glad to not have to handle broken bodies, blood and death. This week I learned something valuable after coming upon an accident.
Coming around a corner we saw a group of people milling around an overturned bus. They were passengers who had escaped injury, pulling injured people out through the windows. The driver and conductor had run away, possibly because of not having a legal driver’s license or being registered to run a bus company. Another reason for paying bribes at every stop.
We were the first car on the scene. It was a mess. A journalist would have jumped at some very ‘good’ photos. I could not contemplate taking one. Three women were seriously injured, one semi-conscious, the second totally unconscious, both bleeding from the ears, mouth and nose. Another woman was screaming as she was being pulled from the bus. Here one does not wait for an ambulance, it may come hours later, and possibly arriving without much help on board, or not arrive at all. Our land cruiser was packed pretty full as usual, as Rodney and Douglas were making space to load the injured I was praying for them. Three injured people were squashed in on top of each other by relatives and friends that were on the bus, urging us to go with haste to the hospital at Manica, fortunately not too far away. Only once we were on our way did I notice two little boys stacked on top of everything. They were not hurt but their mother was unconscious, ‘sleeping,’ I said. They were quite calm and very intrigued to be sitting beside Sunshine our parrot who kept them entertained all the way. The screaming woman had broken bones and bloody injuries, she kept shouting she was going to die I shouted back above the noise that she would not die, I preached the gospel and she began to cry out to God to save her.
We arrived at Manica where the hospital is small. Without much care the injured were carried in on a rickety stretcher. We stayed a while, the little boys we left in the care of a kind lady who works at the hospital till relatives could arrive. We left money with the hospital staff as in spite of treatment being free, it is normal to have to pay one’s way from door to door, treatment to treatment and these could not even move.
We had left Inhaminga at 04:00 am. It was late afternoon when we finally got near the Zimbabwe border post. So near and yet so far, due to about 60 huge trucks being parked left, right and centre all over the road. Two fuel tankers had tried to pass each other in the rush to be near the front of the long, busy border crossing line. One inadvertently hooked onto the other, causing the road to be blocked, other trucks tried to pass from the front and the back and made one huge conglomeration of a mess. What now? People were struggling to dismantle parts off the tankers that were hooked onto each other but without success. There is no such thing as calling for professional help, there just isn’t any! On top of a long day, would we now have to sleep in the car? In typical Rhodesian way, Rodney ‘made a plan’.
My MacGyver saved the day by having the right spanners in his tool box and within an hour the trucks were released from each other and vehicles could once again move. What a hero! How happy we were to cross the border and reach our Mutare home.
Yesterday we managed to make contact with the husband of the one lady and were told they had been taken to a bigger hospital in Chimoio and though one woman is still critical, they are all recovering.
So what did I learn? I learned that when one faces adversity with faith and courage, one can turn it into an opportunity to help people and be a witness for Jesus. I learned that it is not a negative to be the first ones to arrive at an accident, but a positive, even a privilege. These people were blessed that it was us who found them. Many just drive on. Sometimes the dead and injured are robbed of their money and belongings. We as Christians are the ones who must be ready always to respond in the hour of crisis, even if it delays our journey and we have to wash a lot of blood out the car afterwards.
Sometimes people ask us what we need them to pray for. Our Team, students, pastors are always on the road……… pray for safety on the roads.
“Oh hear us when we pray O Lord,
For those in peril …….…on the road”