Saturday, April 5, 2014

Mud and Ministry

Our last post was about water.  Well, all that rain is making a lot of mud for us to play in.   It also makes it harder for Steve to do ministry.

On Sunday morning we set out for Chupa village.  We haven’t taken the new road since the middle of January.  It is only made by men with hoes and shovels.  No rock or dirt was hauled in.  So the road going across the dumbo (swamp) is just swamp mud piled up to make a road.  It is very slick stuff.

The way we go now is a more direct route, but it is through the bush and less traveled.  This means it is very slow going.  At one point in this little two wheel track a spring runs out onto the road. On Saturday we had some heavy down pours.  This little spring was a rushing creek.  It washed away sections of the road going down the hill.

Steve just went kind of fast, afraid he might get stuck.  If I was driving I would have stopped at each section trying to figure out the best way to go.  I just watched the side of the road and noticed that water was coming out every-where the whole way down the road!  The land is too saturated and the water is just running off.

We came to a corner in the road that is usually dry and got stuck. I could not open my door as it was in the mud!


The guys climbed out and Steve got the high-lift jack down off the roof.  Jimmy went down the road to the farm and came back with a hoe.  Three men were on the corner talking when we got stuck right in front of them.  Three more rode up on bicycles. So we had help.


They jacked up the back corner and got some cut pieces of timber to put under the tire. Then because of all the water and mud the jack didn’t want to go down. Steve got it part way down, but it was also going side-ways. So they had to move the boards and then they rocked the car, which still didn’t work.

Clement and Jimmy (who took off their shoes to save them) went running sock footed down the road and came back with some long pole like tree branches.  They positioned this behind the back tire and four men used the pole like a jack to lift the vehicle.  Thus  “African Jack.”  It worked!!!  We got our jack out. 

We jacked up the front and went through the whole same process again.  Jack went up but not down.

We finally had boards under two tires, and lots of sticks laying sideways for Steve to drive over.  He backed it right out of the mud hole.  Thanks to a logging truck that got stuck earlier in the week on the other side of the road we had lots of wood to use and didn’t need to cut any.  But we do carry an axe in the car.


At this point, one and a half hours has passed. Steve had been laying in the mud.  I figured we would turn around and go home.  Nope, Steve was determined we were going to church.  Steve also didn’t think we could make it back up the hill.  I’m thinking we can’t get through this mud hole!

Steve drove on the other side of the road where all the sticks were from someone else getting stuck.  The back tire did get stuck again, but it was easily fixed.  Sticks were placed around it and out he drove.

A little side note.  Every time we are out in the village, when we get back in the car we all use germ-x.  This has rubbed off onto Clement our Zambian ministry partner.

We thanked they guys and they road off.  Steve, Clement, and Jimmy tried to wash off their hands and arms in the mud puddles.  Clement smiles and asks, “Can you please pass the germ-x?”  We all had a good laugh.

Just down the road is Stanzia Farms.  They are harvesting their Eucalyptus trees.  They lay them down right across the road and we have to drive through the field. Steve and Clement decided to walk that before we tried to drive through it.  It ended up being solid, so we drove through it and on to church.

At church we asked about the rain and which way we could possibly go to get back home.  They all tell us a lot of rain has fallen that side (pointing).  What about crossing the swamp to Mulunda?  They all shake their heads NO.  What about going to and crossing the end of the swamp which is up near Kaseshya and then we could take that main road back.  Again heads shake NO.

The only other way out is to continue down the walk path to Landula village which is 7 kilometers away. After that it was another 5 km out to a main road. They said the buses are still running on that side, so we should make it out.

I, Rita, have been on that road once maybe two or three years ago.  It crosses another part of the swamp and was bad.  Steve was on this road just a year ago and it was very bad then.  The Zambians described our vehicle as dancing as it went down this road!

We were in for a nice surprise. The road has been fixed properly.  No mud, rounded up ditches away from the road, and rock hauled in. The swamp was full of water, but the road was dry.

Once we got to that road it was a pleasant trip back. The way we have been going to Chupa is the most direct route.  It is about 22 km to get there from our house but takes about 45 minutes. The fastest way takes about 35 minutes but is 28 km.  The way we came home after church ended up being a 38 km drive.

It was a nice drive though.  I, got to see the village Steve and Clement want to start working in this April. Steve also got to experience the newly graded road. This will be the best way to get to that village.

On Wednesday, Steve and Clement went to Chupa for Bible Study. They drove the fastest way and parked the car at the headman’s house near the swamp.  Then they got their bikes down off the roof and walked /biked the rest of the way in.  When they got home there were more muddy clothes that needed to be washed.

Steve was in Kasama that Thursday and Friday.  It was a supply trip and our vehicle needed its 100,000 km check-up. Steve found rain suits (jacket and pants) for him and Clement.

So that Sunday they again parked the car and biked the rest of the way in.  This time wearing gum boots, rain pants, and jackets.   All of this may seem extreme, but it is a small price to pay for the Word of God to go forth in life changing power!