"Well, that was unexpected." Those were Cambree's words to describe July 18, 2014 - the New Day field trip to Livingstone. I am blogging this now because I have other things I need to blog about, and because I turn my blog into a yearly "blog book," and I want to look back and remember this day. That being said, I haven't completely processed yesterday yet, so I will admit to not being my usual upbeat blog self. This was our day...
1) Up at 4am - ready for the field trip! Excitement in the air - we head to the kitchen at 5am to meet the bus. He finally shows up 40 minutes late and we pull out of New Day at 6am. It was COOOOOLLLLDDDD on the bus - we were all wrapped up in blankets. It took us 4 1/2 hours to get to Livingstone, but it was a fun ride. Only minor mishap was when Diana got stuck in the bathroom at the gas station in Choma, but we were still laughing at this point.
Ready to go, bright & early! Well, not bright, but it was early!
Cambree with her best friend Laurie
Cason is somewhere under that blanket..
A rare picture of me & Laurie together!
Diana was cracking me up - I told her she looked like a European woman all bundled up! The bus was SOOO cold!!
Drew & Muchoni
I honestly can't remember who made us these blankets, and sent them, but they were a lifesaver on this trip!
Our little spoiled Kefbert, traveling in style..
Nurse Mandy & Gertrude
Everyone wanted to sit with Samuel, so he offered to sit with 2 boys! :)
Ready for a fun day - if only we knew what was to come...
Papa Wes & Kefi
2) Headed to drop half of us at the Croc Farm - a car pulls up behind us, honking, with policemen in it. He gets out with his big gun, looking furious, and talks to our driver for awhile, angry that he had skipped the weigh station. I guess we get out of getting a ticket and head on to the croc farm.
3) The next 1 1/2 hours is great - kids loved the croc farm, got to hold a baby croc, watch a feeding, play on the playground. Meanwhile, the falls was fun too, but the kids only had about 40 minutes to go through it. By the time both groups were done, the bus was nowhere to be found...finally shows up about 30 minutes later, making us late to lunch.
Cason & Joseph looking at crocs
I decided to stay with Cason's group after he said he wanted to jump in and wrestle with the crocodiles...
Debbie & Mweene enjoying the swing
Teacher Diana holding the baby croc
Love Joseph's face!
Mama Joyce loved the croc farm as much as the kids did!
The Kindergarten & Pre-K group
All of the interns stayed with us - Mackenzie with the baby croc
It was the kids' first time on a merry-go-round, and their laughs were priceless! They had never been on one, but when they saw it, they all knew exactly what it was. That, my friends, is from books, and that makes me happy. :)
Phillip with the croc
What a neat swing!
Meanwhile, the older kids were at Victoria Falls. Since I wasn't there, this is the only picture I have of them. When Muchoni saw it, he said, "This is the best I have ever seen!!" They loved it and got very wet!
4) Lunch was yummy with no mishaps! At 2pm, we pull out to leave Livingstone behind and get home by 6:30pm.
Orange Fanta for everyone!
Yummy pizza from Olga's!
5) Bus driver randomly pulls over on a busy road and says "I have to go send money to someone. If you want to buy something, now is the time. We will be here awhile." We are trying to figure out what is happening, people are honking at the bus, and a road traffic patrol pulls up, 2 men yelling at our driver. THey finally board the bus and make him drive to the town police station.
6) We stay at the town police station for 20 minutes. Blu finally goes in, speaks Tonga, and they let us go. Apparently we were parked illegally, blocking traffic. Avoided another ticket, and by now we are pretty frustrated with our driver.
7) Head out of town at 2:30pm, this time at the weigh station. Takes another 15 minutes at the weigh station. Finally on the road again.
8) Stop at police stop, and bus is pulled over again. Driver had hit a post at the police stop and they want him to pay to replace it. Blu gets out again and situation is resolved. 3pm - back on the road.. expected arrival time 7:30pm.
9) We make it 40 minutes, and we pull over. Bus is overheating. We stay here until 4pm - kids use bathroom, we buy bread and water "just in case". It is HOT in the bus and we are parked right by the main road. Back on the road at 4pm.
10) We make it 3 minutes, and bus pulls over again on the side of the main road. Overheating - no hope for this bus. Blu & Wes start getting on the phone with bus drivers to come get us. We think we are about 3 hours from home. We get all the kids off the bus and tell them to start looking for firewood - could be a long night. While they are doing that, we climb back on the bus and take EVERYTHING off, handing it down through windows. We are parked in a precarious spot and don't want anyone/thing on the bus.
Coby, aka Survival Boy, got comfortable in his camping chair and made him a shelter. :)
Getting firewood ready
11) Blu flags down a mini-bus who says he is going to the next town 30 min away to drop people off but will be back for 30 of us. Sounds good. Blu flags down another mini-bus that has a few people on it but 4 seats left - the guy swears he can take 20 of us. We load up our house mothers, kids (except for the 5 staff kids), Abby, & Elizabeth, and send them back to New Day. The rest of us settle in for a long night.
Kinda scary to send half of our group off squeezed into this little bus...but they arrived safely at 9:45pm!
*At this point, I stopped taking pictures, because nothing seemed funny anymore...*
12) The other bus finally comes back for us around 7pm. We load up everything and everyone - seats are broken, and we are squished big time, but we are on the road.
13) Arrive in Choma finally (I have lost track of time by now). Driver stops at ATM for us to get money - we can smell New Day in the distance - only 1 hour to go!!
14) 15 minutes down the road from Choma - we swerve and hit a bushbuck (small deer). Bus is ok, but driver decides to turn around to get the animal. The bus dies in the middle of the road sideways, blocking both lanes - no lights on bus because it won't start - if a truck comes we will all be hit. We fly out of the bus as quick as possible - Diana tries to get out as everyone is pushing and is stuck on the bus - along with Cambree & Carolyn. It was terrifying. They get it push-started, back in the right lane, and we are back on our way.
15) 10 minutes down the road - driver stops to buy Tylenol. He has a headache. Imagine.
16) We arrive at New Day at 10:45pm - numb and dumb. Throw things into the truck and take our kids home. Take a deep breath, grab some supper, and there is a knock at the door. It's the Cooks.
17) While we were gone, someone broke into The Ark and stole Drew's backpack and Samuel's money pouch. Biggest concern is Drew's yellow fever certificate.
18) Saturday - wake up at 7:30am only to find out, oops, Samuel's passport was in his money pouch. And he leaves New Day tomorrow. And flies out on Monday.
That...was our day. It was exhausting, frustrating, terrifying at times, and just hard. But you know what? After all of that...the drama, the frustration, the disappointment, the fear, the exhaustion...I do know this.
She is worth it.