The Edapal family.
Kenya had an election last week. The people had to vote on if they wanted the new constitution or not. It had the potential to be chaotic like the last presidential election, but thankfully it was peaceful. Due to the potential for problems, I stayed home on election day. I stayed home that is, until I got a phone call asking for help. My fellow missionaries Keshule (Kay -shoe-lay), Ali, Ben, Chloe(with two dots over the e) and Lydia Edapal live around the corner from me. They work with a mission called "That mission." It stands for True Hope And Transformation. You can find them at http://thatmission.blogspot.com.
Anyway, Ali called me around 10:15 p.m. to tell me that Keshule's truck wouldn't start. He was driving the election officials back from a couple of polling stations outside of town. She asked if I could help go get them and tow him if necessary. He was close to town - only 5 kilometers or so from the west side of town. That is a little over 3 miles. So, I said sure and we left their house around 10:30 for a trip of about 12 miles round trip. We all live on the southeast side of town. Neither one of us knew where we were going. We were relying on directions given to us from Keshule and the election officials shouting at him to tell us this or that.
Needless to say, we got lost! I have never been out to the West of Lodwar and it was a very dark night. There was no moon and few stars to light the way. I really miss street lights on nights like this! The roads are dirt and you have to watch for potholes. Anyway, we went the wrong way at a fork in the road. We turned around and found a couple of Turkana to help us. They also told us the wrong way. We think they were just looking for a ride home :). Finally, we saw a lorry (a big truck - no trailer) coming towards us and I stopped. Ali jumped out of the truck and went to ask them if we were on the right road. Alas, we were not. One of the ladies in the full to overflowing truck was a clerk from the election out that way. She agreed to go with us and show us the way. We basically had to go all the way back to town and then take the other fork of the road. We were given landmarks that we didn't know and names of places that we couldn't read the signs on, so I think we had a good reason for being a bit lost. We were at least in the correct area :).
During all this time, Ali was talking to Keshule on the phone. People were yelling at him and Ali was getting stressed. Ali is British by the way. So, at one point she just said to me - "He's got his knickers in a twist" and wouldn't answer the phone when he called. I laughed out loud at that. I was having fun. I was just the driver listening to all that was going on so I wasn't near as stressed as she was. I am sure she had a hard time not slugging me when I laughed like that. Anyway, the lady helped us get to Keshule and I towed his truck, him, the police guard and the election boxes back to town. Ali and I had the rest of the passengers in the truck with us. The police guard was very upset with Keshule because of the broken down truck. Keshule later told us that he was afraid things were going to get violent, but the other election people calmed down the police guard.
When we got to town, we left Kesule and the truck and took the guard and the rest of the people to the campaign offices. I am not exactly sure the name of the place, but it was up on the top of a steep hill where most of the government offices are in town. I didn't want to try towing his truck up that hill. So, we dropped off the people and the two sealed but transparent election boxes (one for yes and one for no). Then we went back to town where we left Keshule and towed him home. I got home around 12:30 am. So, it took 2 hours to go 12 miles, but it was a success and it was fun.
This was a real adventure! It was very dark and we didn't know the way. The road had holes that came up unexpectedly. We were looking around trying to spot places we didn't know in the daylight much less in the dark. I have never towed a vehicle for that long. Their truck is a land cruiser. Mine is a hilux. Mine is a small pickup and theirs is the next size up vehicle that Toyota makes. So, it is bigger than mine and I wasn't sure about towing it that far. We did fine, but I wondered about it. At one point in the towing, I had to stop because I heard a horrendous noise coming from my front right tire (passenger side here). Ali and I in our hurry to get to Keshule did not bring a flashlight. So, I had to try to find the problem with no light. I did find it eventually. It was a stick about a yard and a half long that was stuck between the tire and the frame of the truck. It took a bit of maneuvering to get it out, but then we were on our way again.
In all of that, we had a lot of help. The two men we picked up who gave us wrong directions were happy to help us (even though they knew as much as us about where we were going). The lorry was happy to stop. They made sure we had someone to go with us that knew the way. They even watched us to make sure we got to the right road to get back to where we needed to be. (I am sure they wondered about these two white women out on their own at night and just wanted to help "those crazy white women!) The other election people calmed the guard who wanted to hurt Keshule. They were all gracious to us about getting lost (after they told us we didn't do what we were told). They pointed out the landmarks they had given us on the way back to town. They even acknowledged that you couldn't see any of the signs for those landmarks in the dark. So, what would have been a short trip with no adventure turned out to be great fun and gave me a glimpse of the way elections work here in this country. I even got a nice hearty laugh in the midst of it. :) Keshule was able to find the problem with his truck and fix it without a big expense too!
All in all, it was a great adventure and I thank the Lord for letting me experience it. What about you? Have you had any adventures lately? Why don't you comment and let me know about one. I would love to hear from you!