We live in Mwanza, Tanzania, serving with Emmanuel International helping local churches in physical and spiritual ministry.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Car Breaks Down in Torrential Storm

Sometimes the not-so-simple act of living here causes just a slight adrenalin rush that makes me realise how much I enjoy living with the exciting unpredictability of life here! The birth of the baby on the roadside the other day was one such moment. And this morning was yet another of those moments when I felt that living anywhere else must surely be boring!

We woke early this morning to a huge rainstorm. The rain pelted down as lightning flashed wildly and the thunder cracked in deafening bursts. The power went out ... thankfully just after the kettle boiled. So we fumbled a little in the darkness getting ready for school, but that's not so unusual. We fed Louisa anti-sickness drugs in the dark and forced down her amoeba medication. She felt lousy and went back to bed. With the road outside fast becoming a river and almost no visibility in the grey light and horizontal lashings of rain, we realised we had better wait a while before venturing out. By the time the storm had calmed down a bit, Louisa's sickness had subsided and she quickly threw on her uniform and they all headed out in 4-wheel drive as I held open the gate, my feet submerged.

After waving them off, I ran back inside and changed out of my wet clothes. Five minutes later I had a phone call. "We have broken down at the end of the road." The road was in a terrible state, flooded and potholed. Tim had sunk in an unseen crevice; there was an ominous clunk as the tie rod broke and the steering was gone. While they waited for a friend to rescue the girls (and the two boys in our car pool) to take them to school, I realised Louisa had left a bag behind in the rush. So I heroically set out in the torrential rain, down the road that was now a river. It was over my ankles and then over my knees, it was rushing and gushing in torrents carrying rubbish and debris, and the mud underneath was sucking off my sandals as I sank down! As I passed under the power lines, there was an almighty CRACK-bzzzzzz as blue sparks, fire and smoke erupted when a branch fell on the line. I almost jumped out of my skin and hurriedly waded away! I wish I had a photo of this bit!

The "river" outside our house

This was taken after the worst... but you can see the crevice that caused the problem!
Tim waited with the car for a mechanic to arrive. I headed back up the "river" and stripped off my second soaked outfit in an hour. Poor Tim was waiting for ages in the rain at the bottom of our road, but then was joined by a friend who kept him company. They watched as the electricians arrived to fix the line ... and then got stuck in the potholes and mud. After a failed attempt at towing themselves out with electrical wire, Eric was able to lend them his tow rope which worked fine; they got on with the job. Back at the house, the power came on! Kettle back on. Feeling sorry for Tim after two and half hours at the bottom of the road, I took a thermos with tea and coffee and cakes down, which we had with the two mechanics. And then with the car fixed, having said our farewells, Tim and I drove carefully back up the road and I changed out of my third soaked outfit. Not sure why I bothered.

The electricians get stuck

Nothing a good cup of tea can't sort out! Thanks, Eric and our men in blue!

I was supposed to be updating on what happened last week ... but am carried away with current events at the moment! I am currently drying out my fourth outfit in Gold Crest making the most of their power (ours is out again ... it didn't last long!) and internet with some large files that needed working on and sending out.

I think the rains may have started.


  1. So sorry to hear about the car troubles/expense even if you are enjoying the unpredictability of life in Africa. I guess this is the very spectacular beginning of the rainy season, so you had better keep those welly boots handy. Think I am glad we made a visit before this weather started.

  2. I admire you're adventurous spirit. I always thought unpredictability was over-rated personally!

    1. Ah ... the excitement you are missing!

  3. Great read! Thanks for the update :)

    1. Thanks, Christine! (but sorry - which Christine??)


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