Day 14, Sunday, March 18

[This post is not for the faint of heart. It has some descriptions of terrible injuries received in a car wreck.]

It’s morning (7:30) and God gave me good sleep last night. I didn’t let myself worry or even think about it much because I knew the faster I went to sleep, the faster it’d be morning and he’d come back. He’s not here yet, but we heard people wailing a little while ago because they brought back the body of one of those in the wreck who died. I can’t help but worry that somehow because Bryan helped them somehow they’re going to blame him for the death or the accident even though he wasn’t there when it happened (we’ve heard of this happening with others in such situations), but I know that God can defend and protect him!

Last night, as we were sitting in the dark beside the hut where we spent the afternoon, one of the women spoke saying that they would sing a song and hear a short word before going to sleep. The song was so neat! It was so African with different parts and harmonies, and it was in their language about waking up the sleepers and other things I can’t remember right now. Then the women spoke about how her people are like the last egg to hatch or the child who walks late, and she spoke about needing to be careful because Satan wants to destroy us. I know she said a lot more, but I can’t remember right now. There is a woman wailing on the other side of the field in front of us.

The retired pastor here just told me that, “Bryan is a faithful man. He has come among our people and has seen our suvvering, and he wants to help. Be patient because it is the Lord who is using him, and he will be blessed for following God.” They also teased me because “we are still young and like to be together. When you are old, you don’t mind so much.” 🙂

We are still waiting for church to start. It’s 11:30 and was supposed to start at 10. 🙂 This is very normal around here. Afterwards, we will go to the funeral.

Now I remember what else the lady said last night. She said that God has sent us here to teach them to walk and to help the egg hatch, and that they’re thankful that we will help bring them God’s word in their language.

One of the elders of the village just told us that he praises God because although he may die tomorrow, today he has seen the people who will teach his children to read God’s word and preserve their language.

Now we have just finished a lunch of beans & corn much (called ugali or posho). It’s probably close to 2. We have finished church, and we are getting ready to leave for the funeral.

We walked a very long way to the funeral. It was quite overwhelming, especially since I didn’t know what was happening with Bryan. There was a lot of wailing and crying, and the body was laid out under a pretty cloth & mosquito net on a palate. When we got there, they started by singing hymns, there was some preaching and prayers, and then more singing. They we sat down under another mango tree, and all the close relatives came to greet us, crying and talking. Each time a new person arrived, they would wail (if they were women) and they would lift the sheet to see her face. After the singing and before we sat down, they had all of us look too, but I was in the back and didn’t see much. That was just fine with me! Some of the women even crawled inside of the net and on top of the body. One of them looked like she was trying to wake her.

They gave us the yummy red drink made of dried fruit, and we sat for a long time. Someone told me that Bryan had taken a second truck of people to the hospital in _city_ the night before, and the pastors kept saying that he had done a great and brave thing. After more prayers and after wrapping the body, they made a procession to her grave, and they placed the body in. The grave was a hold straight down with a place off to the side for the body. That way, the body is sealed off with logs, and the logs are packed in place with mud. Then, they fill in the hole, and the body is in a sort of cave. (They do not have coffins, and they do not want the dirt pressing down on the body.)

As this was happening, the truck from _city_ pulled up, but Bryan wasn’t in it. Then Elnana, our translator, pulled us aside and said that it was there to take us back to _small town_. The walk there had taken over a hour, so I was happy to ride instead. Then I finally found out that Bryan was at the church compound. I was so relieved! We loaded up the Jeep with me in the front seat with the driver, and four men in the next seat, and the back seat empty. We picked up four more women on the way, and they rode in the back. When we were almost at the church, we saw Bryan walking toward the funeral, and I got them to stop once we had passed him. I told them I’d get out and walk with him, and they all laughed good-naturedly at the crazy young Americans. 🙂

I was never so glad to see Bryan! I melted into his arms and he gave me the sweetest hug. We began to catch up on everything, and we couldn’t get enough talking.

He said that it was horrible. He went to help, and no one was doing anything to help but instead just stood watching. He and the other American Christian who had come upon the scene (and who had a little medical training) tried to assess the injuries to see who to send first in the fast Jeep. They sent a man whose leg had been cut off, and after loading him into the Jeep, Bryan carried his foot over too to send with him. They also loaded up the lady who ended up dying late last night or early this morning, and she had a crushed chest with raspy breathing. They loaded a third man with a head injury and broken ribs.

Then Bryan went to get another truck to take the rest, and all there was to use was a dump truck with one headlight and doors that wouldn’t stay shut. The other four injured people were loaded up along with family members in the back of the dump truck, and they lift for _city_. The trip sounded absolutely awful, and Bryan called it a nightmare and worse. His brakes were air brakes, and apparently only braked once (all or nothing) before the air ran out, & so he couldn’t break unless absolutely necessary. He also couldn’t see because of the one headlight, and there were brush fires on either side of the road. Each time he went over a bump (which is quite regularly on those horrible dirt roads) one of the people in the back with a broken arm and dislocated shoulder would scream, and the tools would bounce around in the back.

It took them over 3 hours to get to _city_ since he had to go so slowly. The clinic there almost wouldn’t take them, and wanted to send him on to the hospital in _other city_, but he knew that the truck couldn’t make it (they had to cross a river), that it would be bad for the people, and that he didn’t know how to get there. He finally convinced the nurse to keep them until the morning when the families were able to rent a truck and get them to _other city_.

Then he started walking back to the old college where we stayed and where our teammates were. It was after midnight, and he was having physical reactions to the trauma. He was having a hard time breathing and thought he’d be sick. He went the wrong way in the dark and ended up in the middle of nowhere with some animal growling at him from the brush and men yelling from somewhere. He cut through some of the bush and ended up right at the guest house, so God really answered his prayers for direction and protection!

Our teammates were scared when he woke them, but they helped him get settled in the other room. He went to two church services with them this morning, and then to a local friend’s house for lunch. He only got to talk to the ladies about the accident for about 5 minutes before he left for here. They were waiting for the former bishop’s truck to be available all day, and Bryan was very frustrated that he couldn’t get back sooner since he didn’t know if we’d gotten the message that he’d gone to _city_ and didn’t know if the boy had brought the bike back. Then, when they thought he could finally leave, the driver said he was too tired and wanted to wait until the morning, so Bryan said he would drive, and he did.

When they got to the church compound, none of us were here, and he went to our hut to look for me. While he was there, the driver took off in the Jeep to get me & Brad ‘cause someone told him where we were, and Bryan went after them but they didn’t stop. Bryan waited at the compound for a little bit, but then he couldn’t wait any longer to see me, so he started walking, & that’s when I came by in the truck.

We had a tiny bit of time to talk, & then Elnana (our translator) sat with us & our baths were ready. After bathing, we sat again, & Elnana talked with us about crops & fighting with the Dinka tribe last year because their cattle were destroying the crops. (Of course, that reminded me of the Oklahoma movie & the song, “The cowboy & the farmer should be friends.”)

Published in: on May 20, 2007 at 7:40 pm  Leave a Comment  

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