Dodging Potholes!

09 Jun
Nigerian Pothole (courtesy of “”)

Here is the latest from Ken:

“It’s now 9:45 Wednesday evening and we just returned home from dinner. We drove 11 hours today from Jos to the south of the country in an area called Abapliki [Abakaliki]. The roads were quite interesting to say the least. Similar to what we’ve experienced in Mexico and Indonesia where people pass all the time, there is the added excitement of road potholes big enough to swallow an elephant. A little exaggeration, to be sure, but they make people go around them – at 30, 40, 50, 60 mph! So, when passing, one not only looks for oncoming traffic but for potholes as well. It was not uncommon to find us in the back flying from one side of the car to the other as the driver swerves from one side of the edge of the road to another. And I mean that in all sincerity. I never felt in total danger but there were times when my breath was taken away.

We were also stopped frequently along the way, either by the police or the military. It seems both were looking for money. At one stretch, we were stopped it seems every quarter of a mile. Each had the ability to question the driver, demanding paperwork, etc. We were told that they were primarily seeking additional food money, Indonesian style. Often times, they would ask who the white people in the back were and the response was, “missionaries.” That seemed to calm their spirits and each time we were told to drive on.

We arrived here and were met by Joseph, the pastor translator. He had arranged for us to spend the next three evenings in a guest house built by the Dutch. The area is very hot with high humidity so just placing my luggage in the room caused my shirt to be drenched. I took a quick shower and immediately began sweating as I came out of the shower!

The room is fairly nice though, has a fan, and even an air conditioner! I suspect they will turn it off though sometime during the evening. We’ve had to spray it for mosquitos and that smell is still hanging in the air.

We went to dinner with Pastor Joseph, the translator coordinator, John (who was with us in the car all the way here), and the driver. I had gari, their staple food. It’s a series of dough, half mooned shaped, that you pick up with your fingers, roll in a ball, and dip it in a bowl of what looks like spinach, other vegetables, with fish in it. I thought I had ordered fried rice and fish but got this  instead. Figure that one out! However, it wasn’t bad at all. I’m glad I tried it.

Tomorrow, I’ll train Joseph and another translator on the BGAN satellite Phil works on cleaning up his computer from the viruses, installs Thunderbird and sets up the email account, and installs Pidgin chat. Once that’s done, we’ll have Joseph try from scratch turning on the satellite and sending/receiving email.  We’ll eat at another guesthouse for lunch and dinner tomorrow and return to this guesthouse to sleep. Then’, Friday morn, we’ll travel /2 hr. to Niger and start training them. Saturday morning we’ll drive back.”

As I was writing this post I received a text message from him that said they had a long but good day setting up the BGAN for two translators that have been working 20-30 years. It was pouring rain but he was in his room. He asked that we pray for the sun to come out or else they would have to stay an extra day before driving to the next village. It is from 1/2-2 hours away (not sure, got two different memos about the driving time).

Tomorrow is a repeat of today, with training on the BGAN as well as cleaning up their computer. Then the next day, if all goes as planned, the long drive back to Jos.

Thanks for praying!


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