Don’t kill the camels…
Last week we headed south to Ziway with a short term mission team from Illinois and California to see Misgana Ministry run by Gary and Peggy Ifft. The ministry consists of three schools and Samuel’s Home, a home for orphans. Each facility is amazing, spotlessly clean, well run, a HAPPY & SAFE place for the children. There are children from Christian, Orthodox, no religion, and Muslim families, as well as the orphans from Samuel’s Home who attend the school. The children are learning 3 languages, Bible verses and songs, along with their math, science, etc. as well as hand washing before meals and after going to the bathroom.
The children are fed breakfast and lunch each day. The menu is a two week rotating menu that allows for two days a week Ethiopian food at lunch, which is the kid’s favorite days, the rest of the time very balanced, healthy meals of vegetables, meat and grains. Peggy is a nutritionist by trade and is able to feed four kids for 25 cents a day great meals that are fresh and healthy. The grains are even ground at a near by mill ( we got to watch the process at the mill which was very interesting and old fashioned.) We ate lunch with the kids for two days man was the food good. What those kids eat at school puts to shame the lunches given to the kids in the states for lunch.
We had a great time while visiting the schools and the home. What God is doing is so over the top, even the Muslim parents are excited about what their children are learning in school and the difference the school and the Word of God is making in their children’s lives.
Now for the ride home…..I think we have told you about the road and how dangerous it is with animals, people and other vehicles going every which way on the road. Well we are cursing down the road at 60-70 miles per hour in our 16 passenger van when from the last seat in the van Leigh yells at the top of her lungs, “Camels……. CAMELS…….…STOP….. STOP.” There was indeed camels, as a matter of a fact about a hundred of them. So our driver slammed on the breaks and head the van for the side of the road. When we were stopped the sliding door opened and we began to pile out of the van. Kate stayed in the van saying in a soft voice, ” I don’t think this is such a good idea.”
Peter the professional photographer with the team was the first to navigate across the “high way of death” and I was right behind him, with others following at different intervals. I had just taken a couple of photos when to my HOROR, a camel herdsman came from out of no where, I really mean NOWHERE, he wasn’t there just two seconds before. He was running mock ten at us dust was flying around as his feet hit the ground, his snow white knee length robe trimmed in African print was flying out behind him like Superman’s cape, his eyes were shooting fiery daggers and in his hand that was raised above his head he held a eight foot LARGE staff. Something in me made me put my camera away as I stared in horror thinking he was going to take Peters head OFF. Then all of a sudden there was another herdsman who materialized out of nowhere, on second he wasn’t there and then there he was. About this time our driver arrived on the scene and put himself between the 1st herdsman and Peter. Someone brought over some money to offer but the herdsman hit it out of our driver’s hand. While all this was going on we started retreating to the safety of the van.
The conversation between the driver and the herdsman was tense and we learned the herdsman meant to do bodily harm to us, our driver informed them that they would have to go through him first as we were guests and he would not allow them to treat us that way. When we got back to town and were telling the story to others we learned that we were indeed very lucky as the herdsmen are feared, ruthless, would just as soon use a machete on you or shoot you, the police won’t even deal with them because they are so feared. We also learned the reason behind NO pictures is that they believe if you take a picture of their camel it will die. Praise God for His protection over us.
About ten minutes later as we are racing down the road laughing and talking about the camel experience when there was a LOUD explosion and I had Kate in my lap, she had been sitting on the wheel well. As my mind finally wrapped it’s self around what was going on I realized we had just had a blow-out, so I continued to hold on to Kate wondering if we were going to roll over. Our driver who I think went to school at the Indianapolis 500 driving school, pulled the van to the side of the highway of death and saved us. Everyone piled out of the van and into the pucker brush. While the Indy pit crew went to work. They had the tire off, changed and the shredded tire stowed away in about 5-7 minutes. The thought running through their heads as they work….We’r gong to die, WE ARE GOING TO DIE right here on the highway of death. Meanwhile as all of this is going on Peter, the photographer had again made his way to the other side of the highway and was taking pictures of people passing by. This time he asked permission of his subjects.
We made it home without any more excitement, but with lots to talk about. I think I have the only picture of the camels.