Wow! Wow! Wow! Yesterday was a quite a day!
It all started around 7:00 o’clock in the morning when I woke up in a strange bed and found myself hitching a ride back to my compound. No….this wasn’t some drunken night where I’m randomly sleeping with a stranger. For better or worse, that’s just not my life!
The night before, I went to visit my friend Mio for our last beer, random food – in this case dried squid and Danish bread filled with all kinds of whole grain goodness. The car,which had gone to rescue another stuck vehicle, was suppose to pick me up or alternatively, someone on the motorcycle never came to pick me up and I ended up sleeping in the guest bedroom of another organization. This scenario, where I’m randomly stranded and left to the wills of more fortune organizations which end up providing me better feeding and lodging, happened when I first arrived last year so it is actually only fitting that I should end my stay here in this manner! When I get back to the compound in the morning....I'm greeted by several dog-ate-my-homework type excuses, which really don't matter!
Anyway…I eventually find my way back to my compound, pull my act together and jump on the road to Juba. I’ve started my day in a cranky manner and being 100% Brandie, I’m quite comfortable sitting along the 6-hour road trip with my iPod going and a million thoughts running through my head. Fortunately, the driver has other thoughts….thoughts that include blaring the likes of Backstreet Boys AND singing along, and talking through at least 80% of the trip. I get to hear his story of being his father’s 21st child; growing up in a house with 15 stepmothers and 31 brothers and sisters; watching the effects of jealousy induced witchcraft on his father; trying to convince his Muslim mother to bless him in marrying the Christian mother of his 2 year-old child; AND listening to him finally profess his ‘love’ for me. A ‘love’ whose unleashing was restrained by the fear that I would have him fired and being that he has to support the mother of his child - as known as the woman he also wants to marry – he had to keep his feelings inside! Now please tell me how do you respond to that!?!?
Anyway...moving on from that conversation, I end up telling him about my driving-manual experience. It’s quite simple. I learned to drive the wimpy way – automatic. I came to Sudan the first time and practiced with the first driver, but not enough practice meant that I was still a wimp this time around. With plenty of drivers running around, the need to learn for myself just didn’t seem so pressing. Finally, in a complete it’s-SHAMEFUL-and-EMBARASSING- to-be-in-AFRICA- and-NOT-know-how-to-drive-manual moment, I tossed my fears aside and learned what was needed. So I share this MAJOR Brandie moment with the driver and he doesn’t believe me! Not being one to let such a thing pass lightly, I tell him to stop the car and get behind the wheel. Before he can scream like a baby, I’m in 5 gear dodging potholes just like he does when he’s driving (ok my skills are not that good, but I’m getting there….). In a complete, a-woman-can-drive state of shock, he eventually reclaims the wheel and makes NO silly commentary about me driving! I haven't piled up all those speed tickets for nothing!!!
Anyway...the whole trip ended up being a lot more fun and interesting than any podcast I could have zoned out to!