Day 9: Unexpected Challenges

I got up around 5:30 this morning and went to sit in the dining room to write for a while. I could hear the birds outside and eventually a soft rain started to fall. It was a gentle quiet morning with no sign that anything unusual would be happening today.

We left for Muzuzu around 10:00, having gotten directions from Keni about where to buy treadle sewing machines. We wanted to send two to the Chituka sewing group and Keni was available to deliver them if we accomplished the task today. We were able to find the machines, oil and tape measures. All these things were on our list. 

Feeling accomplished, we were about to go play for a while. We talked about buying some fabrics or going to the art gallery that had been closed the previous day, but we found we couldn’t close the car door. Out of nowhere three auto mechanics appeared and started to dismantle the door and soon it was lying on the ground and all its innards removed. They discussed the problem for quite some time and eventually wandered off in search of parts. We waited, chatting away with Mary who would soon leave for her village up north, until finally the guys returned and miraculously put everything back together and the door worked. Most amazing of all is that it cost just a little over fourteen dollars. 

A little car trouble!

A little car trouble!

We drove Mary to her mini bus stop, said a sad goodbye and headed out of town. 

About forty minutes past Muzuzu we came upon a fairly major car accident that had happened minutes before. Ends up we were the first car on the scene and our little van became an ambulance that delivered a mother, her baby and a teenaged girl to the Muzuzu hospital. So back we traveled the way we had just come with our injured guests. The mother had a broken arm and seemed disoriented - she was completely unaware of her baby, never even checking on her - just in a daze. The teenage girl had cuts up and down both arms. She was crying and very scared. The baby’s ear wouldn’t stop bleeding so we worried that she could have a concussion. We tried desperately to keep her awake during the trip - thinking this was necessary. A second car brought in two boys, one of whom needed surgery and another who was bruised and very upset. The driver had left the scene and one boy didn’t survive.  We stayed until each of our charges had family to attend to them and then we were on our way.

Needless to say we were all pretty rattled ourselves and spend a fair amount of time trying to piece together what had happened. I keep thinking about that baby - wondering if her eardrum was damaged or if she will suffer from a brain injury. Her name is Lorice. I hope she is alright.

We got home at around 8:30. Dear Alice had some dinner left for me. I took a cold bath and here I am, in bed writing this. Mary made it home safely too.