Sunday, September 19, 2010

Tractor or . . . ambulance?

Romano, our indigenous leader's father rode his bike to our compound last week. He came up to our kitchen and introduced himself to me. It was an honor to meet him. He is from a village called Mokuru about 10 miles away. On his way back to his home, a land cruiser came whizzing through the bush. He didn't see the land cruiser until it was right up on him. He scrambled to get out of the road and wrecked his bike. He is an old man and his bones are weak. He broke his leg pretty badly. Romano's brother, Thomas, works here on our compound. He got word two days after the accident that his father had broken his leg. On Friday morning he came to Kevin to ask him for help to bring his father to the Torit Hospital. The only vehicle we have here that would make the journey over the long wet road is the tractor. Kevin noticed the tractor had a flat tire. By the time they got the tire fixed it was too late to make the trip. Thomas left with one of his brothers that has some nursing training to go help treat his father. He had almost reached the village of his father and stopped the motorcycle to examine a stream crossing. He tried to restart the bike and the battery was dead. He sent the nurse on to his father and Thomas started to push the bike back. 5 hours later, he returned to our compound. He had pushed the bike 8 miles over many steep hills. What persistence! The next morning, Kevin and Thomas ate a hearty breakfast of pancakes and eggs, packed their back packs of water and food, and set out for Makuru. We knew it would be an all day trip, we didn't expect them to return until dark. The nurse walked back and came to our compound informing me that he had seen the tractor and they had reached Makuru and they were on their way back. I breathed a sigh of relief and expected them home at around 6:00. Shortly after, Kevin called from his satellite phone and said they had gotten stuck and had been digging for a few hours to get out. Some men in the village took a stretcher that our welder had made and carried the father to the tractor in hopes they could get unstuck. Unfortunately they did not. They were going to start a 10 mile walk back and would return at around 10:00pm. Ugh! The nurse had just assumed they made it to Makuru because they were so close when he left them. It was discouraging news. Our two Kenyan construction workers had been in town most of the day. When they returned they were surprised Kevin wasn't back. They immediately began trying to figure out what to do. We have an old clunker of a truck here and they began searching for the keys and trying to start it. They had to charge the battery and it started. But, the clutch didn't engage. Wouldn't help much. Simon, one of the Kenyans, heard a motorcycle coming and walked out to meet him. It was Paul, one of Romano's friends. Kevin called Romano in Nairobi and asked him to call Paul in Torit. He reached Paul and sent him to get Kevin and Thomas. Kevin did not know he was coming. When he reached them, they had walked about half way (5 miles). The road was bad and muddy. The bike went down once, but they made it at about 8:30 pm. Kevin tried to pay Paul for his fuel and for making the trip. Paul refused it. It was VERY nice of him. Some guys that help us out demand more money. But, God sends us other guys that graciously help us for nothing. Kevin was pretty muddy and tired when he approached home. Thankfully I had made him his favorite peanut butter cookies AND brownies for him to come home to. Sadly, he informed us the tractor is stuck pretty bad AND Romano and Thomas' father is still out in his village. Kevin plans to try to get the tractor out on Monday. Please pray they can. . .they may have to wait a few months for the road to dry out before the tractor will come out. The tractor has already been used several times to carry people to the hospital. It has been a life saving vehicle!

Thank you for your prayers to retrieve our tractor and for the man with the broken leg to recover.

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