Its Dark in Africa

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If you’ve followed my recent posts, you’ll know we’ve arrived safely in the Cape. Let me assure you, the trip down here was NOT uneventful!

Saturday was packing day. My husband rose to the occasion, once again, and fit all our stuff into a rented trailer for the big trek southwest. All except the ‘last minute’ items which always amount to WAY more than you think.

We fixed a quick dinner, and as we sat down to eat, the power went out. And it did NOT come back on! I was not finished packing, the kids had not bathed, I did not make sandwiches for the road yet. In darkness we finished our food, made some instant coffee on the gas stove and swapped camping stories rife with unfortunate events involving blow-up air mattresses.

We realized the power was not coming back on anytime soon, and with the light of small flashlights and a couple candles hunted for our scattered belongings. Our efforts were fruitless and we decided instead to make bedtime 8pm and try to get everything done in the morning.

You know its going to be a long night when you think you’ve slept until morning, look at your clock, and discover its only 10:30pm!

I don’t know how many times we got up that night. The most exciting was waking to Etian coming in for a drink of water and then throwing up in his bed. I fell into a deep sleep about 5am just in time to wake at 6am. Love the life of a parent! So we got everyone up, and discovered…still no power. Which means no water. Which means no showers. Now, one of my favorite things to see on my kids is dirt. No, I’m not being sarcastic! I love it when they have dirty fingernails and muddy feet and grass in their hair. It means they’ve been playing outside in the fresh air, learning, growing, exploring, creating, expending energy as a kid should. But, before a 16-hour drive I planned on having freshly scrubbed children and non-sticky hair. What to do?

We learned someone stole the power lines. Yes, you read that right. The copper inside the power lines is apparently too great a temptation for a thief. Never mind the personal risk involved of electrocution. I used this as an opportunity to explain to the children how one person’s wrongdoing affects many, many people.

So with greasy hair and dirty children we loaded up our car and said goodbye to my beautiful sister-in-law and her family. It still doesn’t feel right that we are in South Africa and she is so far away.

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We visited a Lion Park called Boskoppie on our way to Bloemfontein! As our family walked by each cage of lions, they singled out Gabrielle as the weakest one among us each time and stalked her. Totally freaked me out!

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We played with five-week old lions cubs! A first for me.

I really must laugh about the packing tape holding our tarp over the trailer. Amateurs. It lasted about four hours til we decided the flapping tarp was worthless and we tore it off the trailer. We arrived in Bloemfontein, Free State, to stay with relatives. Who happen to be the dean of a university and professional musicians. We’re talking stringed instruments here. Cello. Have you ever heard a more beautiful instrument?

We finally bathed the children including our unhappy, ill son and fed them ice cream and put them to bed. That’s what any good parent does, right? Ice cream before bed.

The next day is when the fun really started. A 10-hour drive still to go, we got an early start and were merrily on our way. I was taking one of my 5-minute power naps when I hear Gert mumbling something in Afrikaans and we pull off the road. I know its for real when he mumbles in his first language.

The tire on our trailer blew out. Not just a flat tire, but the whole tire was completely gone and the rim just a curly piece of metal laying on the side of the road. Why didn’t we crash? I believe the answer to that question is that angels do attend us. “Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?” Hebrews 1:14

So my strong, capable, handy husband gets out the jack and changes the tire. And we all watch the spare tire flatten to a lumpy pancake. We are in the middle of the Free State, something equivalent to North Dakota or Eastern Montana. There ain’t nothing nowhere. We waited no less than two hours by the side of the road, trying to reach someone who could deliver road-side assistance.

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We drove from Ermelo (east of Johannesburg) to Somerset West (near Cape Town)

The miracle here is that we all kept our cool while being stranded on the road. We had grace to endure patiently, water and rolls to fill the tummies, and a side road to empty bladders. Help finally arrived and we were on our way, albeit behind schedule. We opted to push on to Cape Town instead of sleeping over on the road somewhere and arrived somewhere around 1am.

Move in day is Friday and Saturday. After that, I’m not going anywhere for about six years. At least that’s how I feel.

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4 thoughts on “Its Dark in Africa

  1. You are such a trooper, I’m not sure how we get through things like that but somehow in God’s supernatural strength we do! I can somewhat relate with our 4 trips we have taken back to MO this year alone, 3 with all kiddos… So sorry though and glad you made it, hope you get some rest and rejuvenation soon, only to do it again–mothering that is πŸ™‚

  2. Lisa Manwarren says:

    Thanks for sharing about your trip. I can imagine what it must have been like because of your descriptions- you are an excellent writer! One of many talents πŸ™‚
    So glad that THAT adventure is now behind you, and hopefully some more enjoyable adventures lie ahead! Love you guys.

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