Sunday, September 04, 2011

Getting There

There was a bit of a panic one morning last week. We were just finishing our routine morning meeting with staff when I caught a quick movement out of the corner of my eye. One of the guys had something on the end of a stick that he held stretched w-a-a-ay out in front of him, as far as possible, and he was rushing to dispose of whatever it was. It must have been pretty dangerous, so my curiosity was piqued.

“Wait, wait! What is it? Let me see!”

The guy stopped mid-step and turned around ever so carefully. There, on the end of the stick, was no snake, no furry, ogley-eyed spider, nor anything too horrid at all for that matter. It was a plain old chameleon. A fairly frightened one at that who was moving as quickly as possible toward safety!

Unfortunately for the chameleon, his species are programmed for disguise, not speed. And so his attempts to “scurry” were quite pathetic. At best, he swayed backwards and forwards repeatedly, in super slow motion, as his front foot reached forward, poised for eventual touchdown.

It’s pretty safe to blink, even several times, when watching chameleons walk. You won’t miss much.

They're quite harmless, but many here believe they’re deadly poisonous. I reached for the stick to rescue the little fellow and to relieve the guy holding him. As I did this, an animated discussion broke out as we shared our differing ideas about chameleons and the possible danger they pose. Some voiced concern that chameleon eggs on cassava leaves could easily be eaten by accident and poison a person. I was more concerned about the level of cyanide poisoning in the leaves themselves. They thought I was funny. I thought they were funny. We all had a good laugh.

The chameleon thought it wasn't so funny at the time but it could be later, after he’d reached safety. If he could just put that foot down and actually get there.

I think Raimundo (holding the stick) and I have similar thoughts about chameleons.
He doesn't seem too worried.

While we were having some fun but also challenging moments at home base this week, Dwight, Rick, Joao and Pastor Ricardo spent just shy of 2 weeks picking their way over dangerous highways and bad dirt roads to visit, teach, and encourage pastors and people in remote areas. I traced their path as best I could (below). The round trip covers approximately 1200 km.

Need I say why I don't accompany my husband on these trips? Conditions are rustic and besides, there are dangers along the way too. Who knows, maybe one day I'll muster the needed sense of adventure and go along. But not yet. Thankfully, Andy and Dwight took some great photos which I'll share here.

Rick, Heather & Co. hauling a trailer load of orphan gift packs for Chiriza and Chueza.
Good thing they were well wrapped on the bad, dusty road!

Crossing the Chiri River on the "ferry".
These bigger rivers are know for both hippo and croc attacks.

While Dwight drove, Pastor Ricardo "manned" the phones.
Dwight's phone is a busy one. Apparently Pastor Ricardo's is too.

Graduating pastors in Guro

Lunch with the Community Leader in Mutarara

Unique Christmas Gift packs, carefully shopped for and put together by Rick, Heather, Pastor Mariano and others, were distributed to orphans in programs in Chueza and Chiriza.

Awaiting gifts and lunch.

Gifts are so fun!

Grannies and elderly women who also receive help.

The Chueza church runs a garden to provide vegetables for orphans in its orphan feeding program. The walk there is several kilometers long.

Desperately needed pots for cooking were delivered on this trip as well.

Fresh produce from church garden in another area called Baue.

Follow up for the women's literacy program is also provided on these trips. Here, one of the remote women's class teachers receives supplies.

Here, a woman receives a certificate for completing a course in leadership training.
I love seeing the women involved like this.

"Work-for-food" project in Sinjal.
Bricks made will be sold to generate income to purchase more grain.

Checking out a possible remote base in Sinjal for the mission.
A place to call home while so far away from home would be ideal on these remote location visits.

Who knows...maybe I could be lured off on one of these crazy trips after all? There may be a few dangers and some adventure, but it would be a great experience. Maybe one day I'll get there.


Royden Lepp said...

Hang on little chameleon! I'm on my way!


ruth said...

Umm...we think it's pretty amazing you live in Africa at all. Since you know, we kind of think that's an adventure ;)