Friday, September 05, 2008

Loss and Recovery

This has been a week of memorable events, both good and bad. It started off with us getting ready to return to Mozambique with Rick and Heather. Even though we have a double cab pick-up, it's a Toyota, which means it's compact. Not one of your North American monster-sized pick-ups. The 5 of us fit in the cab, albeit a fairly cozy fit, but the stuff we needed to haul home was sure not going to fit in that small canopy! Extra measures were required so a carry-rack installed and with some fancy packing by the guys, we were loaded to the hilt and ready to blaze the trail to Mozambique.

Well, nice idea. Our blaze was reduced to a dying smolder as we rounded the hill toward the border and encountered several kilometers of back-logged traffic standing dead still! I had to smile as we inched slowly past this "80" km/h speed sign. Yeah, we wish :)

It took us 2 hours to get through the border. That included, besides the good long wait in traffic, getting our passports stamped out of South Africa, waiting in a long pedestrian cue on the Mozambique side, purchasing visitor's visas for Kim, Rick and Heather for Mozambique, getting passports stamped into Mozambique, and claiming our purchases with the customs official. It could have taken longer, but it was long enough!

Once we were across the border, it was back to the business of blazing that trail home once again. This trip home is usually a 2 day, 10 hours driving per day affair, but with the border delay we were now looking at a 12 hour day. By lunch time we decided to make a real quick pit stop to kill the hunger pangs. Then we were off again.

Day 2 should have been a 10 hour drive. That's what it usually is. But on this trip we experienced a rather unfortunate event. As I mentioned earlier, our vehicle--especially the canopy--was stuffed very full. It was so full, in fact, the back hatch on the canopy needed an good stiff push to close "click". Anyway, several hours into our day 2 trip, we stopped at this perpetually unfrequented gas station for fuel. There was no fuel. There were no other customers either, except a vehicle did pull through while we were there. Maybe just to visit with the attendants who spend the majority of their time text messaging on their cell phones. We carried on, stopping a bit further along our way for a road-side lunch.The sun was scorching that day and shade was sparse, so after a very brief snack, we piled back inside and kept driving. An hour or so later, we noticed that the back hatch was open. "What??!! That's not good!" (Why it was open remains an unresolved mystery to us.) We stopped and were not surprised to discover that we had lost some luggage along the way. To be precise: my laptop, my camera (both in their cases), and a backpack full of medicine. These items are valuable so we decided to backtrack and see if we could recover something...anything Our long 10 hour trip home was about to get much longer!

We backtracked to the place where we had stopped at for lunch, and there we were waved down by a gentleman. He told us that a local lady, who lived nearby, had found the camera. We drove to her home and sure enough, there it was. The lense filter had a dent and the bag had a few scrapes, but amazingly, it still worked. Apparently the family had tried it out and decided that what with its charger, cords, memory card and all--out there in the unelectrified bush, it was of no use to them.

This is what my camera was busy taking pictures of during its 2 hour adventure in the hands of its finders :).

The camera-finder and her family. We left them with a thank you gift and were on our way once again.

Sad to say, we never did find the remaining items. We stopped and spoke to at least 10 other people who shook their heads sympathetically. They had no knowledge of the lost bags but they took our phone number and said they would call in case anything turned up. That was nearly a week ago, and so far we've had no calls. I'm very sad about the loss of my laptop. Although I had a few things backed up in one form or another, I lost many hours of hard work, information, pictures, etc. I had been meaning to back everything up for quite awhile, but just hadn't found the time.

Tip of the week: Back up your files. Now :)

My loss, however, pales in comparison to the loss others experienced last week. I refer to this season as the "Season of Fire" because every year, during August and September, most of the African bush burns, totally out of control. There are many theories as to why it gets set alight, but one thing is for sure--it causes wide-spread devastation and loss of property and lives. Last week, many lives were lost in the fires that ran rampant across this part of Mozambique. Two of our staff members lost their homes plus their year's supply of food. It was a very sad week indeed. Please pray with us as we all work towards recovery.

Morning air thick with smoke.

It was good to finally get home after such a marathon trip. Everyone immediately got to work unpacking and Rick and Heather are now busy settling into their new home and environment. One of the essentials initially, is a vehicle, so they will be using the Isuzu. It's had its own problems here and there and requires a bit of attention to get things functioning again . Its chances of recovery are quite good though, thankfully!


Penny said...

Hello, my computer was unusable all summer and I've just gotten back online about 2 weeks ago. I was so glad to get back to the blogs I enjoy (yours included)! I'll be checking back regularly, glad you got home. Sorry about your lost stuff though.

The Nelson's Dog Patch said...

Well Lynn I must say you I don't know if you've ever had an 'uneventful' or 'boring' trip home eh??