Saturday morning we were to be ready at 8AM to begin a trip to Lodwar - we were to drive to Kitale, visit a pastor's widow in West Pokot, then spend the night there. Early Sunday morning we would then leave by 7AM to drive to Lodwar - well, we left about noon on Saturday for Kitale, but all was well, and we accomplished everything we set out to do.
The trip to Kitale was really quite uneventful - we arrived in Kitale by 3 or so, and immediately after checking into our hotel drove to West Pokot to visit the pastor's widow and pray for her family. We got back to Kitale before dark, had dinner, then walked to the market (about six blocks away) to do some quick shopping before retiring for the night.
Sunday morning, I was up at 5AM to get my shower (for some reason, the water heater would not heat my water, so I had a cold shower) and get ready for the trip. As I was taking my "cold" shower, I reminded myself that I had heard Lodwar was VERY HOT so would probably wish i could take that night too! Anyway, we left by 7:15 and began our journey. We drove from Kitale, through West Pokot, into Turkana. I found this online about the journey from the United Naitons...actually I found it online AFTER we arrived in Lodwar!
"All travel by road north of Kapenguria require armed police escort. ... where mandatory escort are required, you must obtain written clearance (Fax or email) from the head of your organization in Kenya. ... Kitale - Lodwar 298 km - 8 hours"
When we arrived in kapenguira, there was no police escort for us - we were told we could either drive on without an escort, or wait for a few 'hours" to see if one could be arranged. We all felt peace about moving forward, so we continued our journey with NO POLICE escort!
At one point, the driver remembered one other time he drove through the area, and remembered where bandits shot at him and hit his car - so he stepped on the gas pretty hard to get through the area quickly. But you have to know HOW BAD THE ROADS ARE!! So here we are, diving in an area we have been warned not to go without police, and speeding on roads that are horrid! I was just thinking about all of that when we began to spin out of control on the highway (it is called a super highway, but I have no idea why - there is barely any pavement, mostly just sand, gravel, dirt and what is left of tarmac). On either side of the road was a culvert that was not too bad, but with our high profile vehicle, I had an instant vision of the vehicle flipping...and it certainly felt like it was about to flip! Our driver was very skilled, and kept the car from turning over, but it went straight into some bushes and a set of trees! Wham! We came to a sudden halt, but no one was injured, not even jarred too much.
Remember - we are in Africa, in a dangerous area, and now in the bushes up against trees! YEP - the driver put it in reverse, stepped on it, backed out of the bushes, back on the highway, and hit the gas again! Thus we drove to Lokichar without stopping! In Lokichar, we stopped to check the car - there was some exhaust damage, and it felt to me like some shocks or springs were damaged - but those will be fixed today here in Lodwar. We did arrive safely in Lodwar about 4PM local time Sunday night.
We were booked at the St. Theresaa Guest house, and when we checked in, we were told that we had only one room, not two - there were two single beds in the room, so I said no problem, Bishop Javan and I have shared rooms before - but they were going to charge us the same as if we had two separate rooms, so he decided to go elsewhere for one night. After Sunday night they will have enough rooms for everyone. I spent Sunday evening in my hot room with the fan is on HIGH, it is hot as blazes, but i am feeling so good to be here safe and sound!
It is now Monday morning - and I am showered, dressed and fed. I think today will mostly be waiting around for another group from the US and Australia to come and work with us. So, I will catch up on some reading, so some writing, and hopefully get a newsletter done. Will post more as we travel along!
Grace & Peace - TOGETHER we really DO make the difference!!