Two crazy white ladies! (Undeserved Grace)
by Linda Manhardt, Major –
I had been in Kenya for over three years without leaving, and without a visitor from the States. Finally, a friend was coming to visit! We planned to go to a tented camp and then on to a safari, and I was excited about the adventure. I had visited a travel agent in Nairobi, and all we needed to do was get to the locations. This is where my planning got a little sketchy.
I had acquired a very old red Suzuki from a former expatriate who left Kenya a year earlier. Riding in that jeep-type car was not unlike riding on an old-fashioned wooden rollercoaster! Every bone was jarred as I drove down the dusty, pitted, red dirt roads. When you lifted the hood, you could see that all of the washers had been replaced by bottle caps with a hole punched through them! No kidding! This car was rough!
My friend arrived, and I was confident that the old red Suzuki would get us where we needed to go. It was a couple hundred miles to the tented camp, and I knew nothing more than the general direction. I wasn’t worried. After all, there weren’t that many roads to choose from. We set off with no map, no food, no water and no common sense. We were two crazy white ladies off on an adventure!
About an hour from the training college, the car began to stall without explanation. In mid-afternoon, we limped our way to a small village that had a service station (of sorts). The man there looked under the hood and said he could see the problem, but couldn’t help us for a couple of days because he needed to get a part.
Almost in tears, I explained that we had reservations and needed to get to the tented camp. Besides, there was no place in the town for us to stay! The man finally took a part out of another old car and rigged it in the jeep so we could continue our journey. We looked at the map on the wall, and were on our way.
We arrived at the camp, and as we slowed, the car began to stall again. While we were on a tour one morning, we arranged for another man to work on the Suzuki. By the time we left the camp, we were assured that the car would be fine for the rest of our trip.
All went well for a couple of hours as we headed to our second destination. This time, the car actually broke down. We could not get it to move, but after sitting for some time with frayed nerves on the side of the road, an Australian man in a pick-up truck stopped to help. He had an old piece of rope and he tied our car to his and towed us the rest of the way to the safari camp. The rope broke repeatedly, but we finally arrived at the game park.
During our stay at the safari camp, the car was fixed again, and we slowly and carefully made it back to the training college after our trip.
I can now look back at that trip and laugh. But I wasn’t laughing on those bumpy, dusty roads! What was I thinking! How could I have been so foolhardy! I had put the lives of my friend and myself at risk. We could have been stranded, lost, or robbed in some remote area of Kenya and it would have been days before anyone would have noticed! What should have been a wonderful vacation, turned out, at times, to be a terrifying experience.
Life sometimes feels like a long road of bumps, potholes, and unexpected turns. Our lungs fill with the dust of everyday living. There are times of uncertainty, worry and fear, but we can find assurance in knowing that God has a plan for each one of us, and will get us safely to our destination.
At times, the choices we make may take us on difficult and dangerous paths, but we have a caring, merciful God. He chooses to guide and protect us in spite of ourselves!
I call this undeserved grace.