Monday, May 24, 2010

Look out, no brakes!

“Torit is just on the other side of that next mountain.” -Bishop
“But bishop, you said that about the last two mountains.” -me
-- insert twinkling grin -- “Don’t worry, it’s very close.” -Bishop
“You’re just afraid I’ll start driving faster aren’t you?” -me
-- grin-- -Bishop
“I love my job.” -Buck

You might think that driving on a road that was more like “off-roading” with hardly any brakes would be exciting. But it was the proverbial “are we there yet?” experience. It took us more than 7 hours to drive 80 miles.

Luckily for all my passengers, Buck continued to buy and feed me packaged cookies throughout the journey, keeping me sane, and driving very very slowly.

I had the pleasure of traveling with Buck this month on two equally exciting trips. (You may remember that Buck, from Virginia, was one of my first traveling companions when I came to Sudan). Buck loves his job, and is good at reminding the rest of us to love our jobs too, even when we are hot, and tired of driving so slow.

I should quantify “exciting trips”. The combined maintenance requirements on the vehicle after one week with 32 driving hours was: two full sets of shock absorbers, and new brakes.

We spent several days in the Diocese of Ibba, 10 hours drive from Juba. We learned of the great progress the kids at the local school have made (the 8th graders toped the state exam!) and the hopes of the diocese. I got to put on an agriculture workshop. Buck’s sister got to teach some art and social studies classes. We ate termites (one of us thought they said “turnips,” it was dark), and we returned with the very prestigious gift of a live goat. Yes, a live goat, in the back of the car, with the suitcases. “Little Buck” has become a bit of a pet, though we are looking for a new home for him, as my housemates and I are a bit tired of being woken up early in the morning by incessant bleating!

Our trip to Torit, was a bit more car-maintenance focused. Though it was a joy to sit and chat with Bishop Bernard as we waited for brakes to get fixed. We also got to do some walking around Torit, and got to see the progress they have made, and the tremendous hope for the future they have, great dreams, and great potential!

Should you know a diocese or parish somewhere that is looking for an overseas partner, Torit and Ibba are two of many dioceses in Sudan that are a great partnership opportunity!