Stranded in the Bush
As you may know from a previous blog post, Sarah and I are heading into the settlements to workshop the primary schools on Living the Life Skills Curriculum the GoB is rolling out to help combat HIV/AIDS. Since Sarah is on vacation, I had the job of heading to Ukhwi and Hunukhwe for the workshops. Since Ukhwi is 200 kilometers from Hukuntsi and Hunukhwe isn’t much closer they decided I needed to spend the night at the settlements. I was okay with that-it was just going to be for a night....
We were supposed to head out on Monday, of course the vehicle needed to be serviced so we didn’t go. We set out on Tuesday, I had in my possession 1.5L of water, one set clean underwear, beef jerky (thanks Katie Taylor), two apples and a bag of popcorn, my “professional clothes” and PJs.
Life was great, we set off. We had a good driver who didn’t try to kill us with his driving and hit all the pot holes.
We were about 50 kilometers away from Ukhwi and I was in the back taking a wee nap. Then suddenly I awoke as we careened off the dirt road into the bush. Sand is blowing everywhere and I was terribly confused. We manage to get out of the bush and onto the road. We all pile out of the car to assess the situation. It was where the axel connects to the tires-it was now bent in. Not an easy fix. There is no cell phone service and we were on a road that is not used regularly. Please note the irony of the situation, the tire was brand new-which is unheard of in Botswana. I have never seen tire treads that good on a vehicle...usually the tires are balder than bald.
I eat some popcorn while mentally assessing what I have/how long I can survive.
My outlook on life is still very positive-I mean what can we do? Someone will come by eventually...After I awhile I decide its nap time. I awake hot and sweaty and realize, yup that wasn’t a dream. I try to force myself to think of the time that I was with friends when we broke down in the middle of nowhere Wyoming for hours...but at least we had beer. Suddenly my good mood evaporated. It had been hours. As I get out to stretch my legs I notice there are a lot of animal foot prints...including giant cat size ones.
Eventually....hours and hours later a car drives by. By the luck of God he had space to squeeze some of us in. The two men we were with were actually kind enough to give the women the space. As we drive on I notice more and more foot prints in the sand, come to find out this is a main passage for lions when they hunt.
We made it to Ukhwi! Finally. Yet we have no way back to Hukuntsi. The other vehicle for the Education Department was out of commission as well and of course the different Ministries don’t share vehicles no matter what the situation. So we wait. Ukhwi is a very remote settlement, population of 459 (per 2011 census) in walking around the village I note there are only about 6 cars...I actually really enjoyed the vibe in Ukhwi.
Finally, on Thursday the clinic didn’t have many patients to transport to Hukuntsi, so I was able to squeeze in! Unfortunately, there was only space for me and the other people I was with were left behind. Truthfully, I couldn’t bring myself to feel bad about leaving those women behind. I was tired, dirty and in a rotten mood. My patience had been tried in to many ways.