An Uneventful Journey

17 Nov

So I had a great and productive week at Liz’s organizing books, catching up and eating lentils. To make matters even better, I organized a ride home for me and Katrina with my counterpart. She wanted to have our books asap so she was going to drive them home. I had a funeral on Saturday I wanted to attend and Katrina had to find transport home so we planned for us to be picked up at 9 am on Friday morning. Nqutu is about a six hour drive away but they have a house in Empangeni which is halfway between us. Unfortunately this trip home reminded me that I am in South Africa and that nothing ever goes as planned.

I got a message late Thursday night that she could not drive but her brother-in-law was coming instead and that he’d come by 11 at the latest. Now I’ve been here long enough to assume he’ll probably be another hour late so we’ll leave around 12. However this is how the day went:

10:30 am – I call to check if he’s still coming at 11. Nope! He just left. Estimated time of arrival 1:30.

1 pm – cell phone service dies as a rainstorm hits the area.

2:30 pm – service is back but no word from our driver. I call and he’s caught in the fog and is driving slowly

4 pm – he calls to ask for directions

4:15 pm – he arrives and we pack up the books. The bottom of the truck bed is wet but luckily we managed to cover it so the books don’t get soaked.

4:45 pm – we’re on our way!

5 pm – we stop at a store to get food and supplies because now I won’t have time to do my weekly shopping in Manguzi

6 pm – it is very foggy and we’re driving super slow.

6:23 pm – we stop to help a lady change her tires. Note, we’re five hours away from home if we had good driving conditions

7:30 pm – after fixing the tire and a couple of smoke breaks by our driver we continue. It is now very dark and very foggy so we’re driving at a snail’s pace.

7:45 pm – our driver mentions for the 46th time how foggy it is. I wonder how foggy it was at 9 am…

10:15 pm – we arrive at Empangeni and fill up on diesel.

10:45 pm – we continue driving.

12 am – we arrive in Hluhluwe so he can buy another energy drink. The gas station is blaring Jason Derulo, the highlight of the trip so far.

12:30 am – we run over a rabbit. For some reason we turn around to make sure it was a rabbit and not some other animal.

1 am – we get stopped by the police. They are surprised to see two white people in the truck. They ask Katrina and me if we’re aware of human trafficking and if we’re being trafficked.

2:30 am – we made it to VB! He insists on driving us to the top of my hill and makes it halfway before getting stuck. Luckily he can back his way back down and we walk the rest of the way.

2:40 am – I enter my house and basically pass out from exhaustion.

The entire trip home was incredibly frustrating. Part of me would have preferred just taking the taxis right away. Much as I feel like I’m pretty laid back about time here, it turns out my limit is being picked up 7 hours late when it was important for me to be home at a reasonable time. But once I realized I’d be home late, I realized how comical the entire situation was. One important thing for Peace Corps Volunteers is that you can laugh at things like this. Being able to recognize that this whole trip will be hilarious down the road was very helpful in not stressing out too much. And of course hearing Whatcha Say along the way was also very beneficial to my sanity.


One Response to “An Uneventful Journey”


  1. Books, books, books: sorting! | Liz in Service - November 18, 2013

    […] It took all week, but Katrina, Michael, and the older boy learners moved all the boxes into the community hall and placed each order under someone or a school’s name. Now the boxes are either ready to be picked up, or shipped off to another area of South Africa. Michael’s counterpart picked up Katrina and Michael’s boxes on Friday, and they have arrived safely in Manguzi after a comical road trip. […]

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