Thursday, January 14, 2010

Happy Birthday Omaatla! Thank You, Drunk Strangers, for Digging Us Out of the Sand

Yesterday, my little friend Omaatlaa turned 11 years old!  I have been waiting for this day to come for 3 weeks; I am so glad that I was here in Bots for his birthday.  I was able to make a funfetti cake for him (thank you, Brittnie Homstad, for sending 2 of those in the care package!) and bring it over for his party.  I brought Mason and Mmapula, and Monica and her kids with me to the party, and we had such a great time.  When Omaatlaa saw me, he came running down the hall shouting my name and gave me a huge hug.  I still have a smile on my face from the memory of that moment.

While waiting for the other kids to show up, we played Duck Duck Gray  Duck and I let Mason have some fun with my camera.  

Letting Pule know that I tagged her.  No mercy, even for 6 year olds.

We had a great time at the party.  The ladies made Omaatlaa give a speech, and he said (with a huge smile on his face) "When I see that it is my birthday, I am so happy."

The kids all had fun playing soccer in the hall, eating cake and marshmallows, and looking at the presents Omaatlaa got for his birthday.
I must say, the cake was a huge hit.  The ladies were all telling me that I need to be ready to be taking cake orders, and didn't believe me when I told them it was a box mix.  When I said it was from the states, though, they all nodded and said "Oooh, yep.  That makes sense."  I was chuckling, though, when they only gave the kids 1 piece each, but they all went up for seconds after the kids went out to play...nothing but crumbs left.  And really, hardly even that.  They devoured every minuscule piece of the cake that was there.

The party ended just after 9pm, so off we went.  There's something you need to understand about night driving out here.  It's not safe.  There are no street lights, so the only thing lighting your way are the headlights of your car.  Often times, animals are sleeping on the side of the road, and from time to time, you will have cattle or donkeys crossing the road in front of you...or just standing still on it.  You don't see them until you're pretty much on top of them.  Also, there's a decent amount of people that have been drinking and are just walking along the side of the road, and you never know if they're going to stay there.  Needless to say, it is strongly encouraged that you don't drive at night unless absolutely necessary.
The dirt road leading to Monica's neighborhood is currently being widened and will become a tar road.  Unfortunately, they have not put up any road construction signs or barriers for where you're not supposed to drive.  When I turned onto the road, it looked like the left side was in bad shape and torn up, while the right side was smooth.  I decided to take that route, but after a bit, I discovered that this was actually the side they're doing construction on.  As I was looking for a way to get back to the left side of the road (which by this point was raised up and you couldn't just move over there), what happens?  Boom.  Stuck.  In a 15 passenger van.  Close to 10pm.  Pitch dark.  4 little girls hopped up on sugar in the back.  Not a great situation to be in.  We flagged down a car that was driving by, and 2 men who reeked of alcohol stepped out.  After they finished laughing at me (thanks, guys), they offered to help us out.  One of them drove back to his house to get a spade, and then they spent the next 30 mins digging us out.   I had my phone with me, but I couldn't get service on my network to call anyone back at the plot.  One of the men let me use his phone, so eventually I was able to talk to Jerry and let him know what was happening.  That's a fun conversation.  "Hi, Jerry.  Thanks for letting me use the brand new van and drive your children to a party.  Guess what!  We're stuck in the sand late at night and are working with 2 inebriated men in the dark to get out.  Hope to see you soon!"  By the time we were able to reverse the car, the girls were jumping up and down, cheering on the top of their lungs.  I must say, I heaved a big sigh of relief myself.
Anyway, I am completely thankful for the Lord's protection in that situation, because it could have taken a bad turn.  I was chatting with my dad today, and he told me that I sure am giving him and my mom lots to pray about.  So true.  There have been so many potentially dangerous situations I have been in over the last few months, but not an ounce of harm has come on me or anyone else here.  I am so grateful for all the prayers of people back home.
I hope that you have a wonderful day!  The interns are flying out from the states today and will arrive on Saturday!  So excited.

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