When the rainy season comes, it can really rain. It is always a relief from the dry season, when the sun and the heat and the dust cause their own difficulties.
Case in point? We decided to go to town from our way-out bush station to have a “hotel meal” for our anniversary. After all, that only happens once a year! Since it was November, and the rains were late, we could also use the trip to stock up on what we needed for the coming months when the rains finally arrived. Our bush station was basically surrounded by seasonal swamps making us pretty well locked in from November to April every year.
So, off we went. Good friends, Jim and Gloria, welcomed us to their home and our kids were able happy to pal around with theirs for the few days we were to be there. Our kids would be cared for while Carol and I had a meal alone in the hotel. What fun!
Since we had already had a day or so in town before all this, the Land Rover was all packed with supplies and we were ready to head home the next day.
After a good meal – I have no idea what we had! – we headed back to the house to spend the night, planning to get up early the next morning to head home.
I had hardly lain down when, off in the distance, I heard a rumble. Surely not thunder!! The moon was even trying to break through the clouds. A few minutes later anther rumble. And a flash of lightning.
I started counting – 1 thousand, 2 thousand, 3 thousand, +, etc. That storm was a long way off. It rumbled again. 1 thousand, 2 thousand, + – it was coming closer. Another rumble. 1 thousand, + – now the lightning was real bright and the air had that special storm smell.
Suddenly, it hit. And it rained. And it poured. All night into the next day, all day into the next night. Stopped and rain – I mean poured! – again. And again. And again, for almost a month.
Roads were washed out. The ground was saturated and impromptu streams started flowing. And we weren’t going anywhere. In fact, that November few days trip turned into December and on into January. What a series of storms. Even the water level in Lake Victoria rose and some fishermen’s camps along the shore were swallowed.
And our family turned out to be residents with that other family for all those months. The African have a saying that a guest can be a guest for 2 days, after that they have to pick up a hoe to help dig their host’s garden. Well, it was so wet that our friends couldn’t even have “dug a garden” so I didn’t get blisters on my hands – but I am sure that Jim and I found a lot to do.
Finally the weather cleared. We waited a few days to let roads dry out a bit and then took off. The things in the Land Rover had survived, covered by a tarp and parked under a spreading mango tree.
Off we went. But some roads were out. The road home heads south out of town but it was closed. So, knowing some back roads, I headed east. The usual trip home, which was about 70 about 4 hours. Now this new route turned into about 190 miles and took all day. But we made it. And that Land Rover, with its 4-wheel drive, churned through the mud and we slipped and skidded and bounced almost the whole way – BUT, we didn’t get stuck even once!
Home sweet Home. That storm was not just “in town” but area-wide. Even out where we lived. But, we were home. The water tanks were overflowing; folks were now happily planting in their rice paddies. And our roof hadn’t leaked at all.
Now, as what happens after a period of rain when the sun comes out, humidity had climbed. My rifle, which I had left at the house (you don’t take it to town!) had rust on the barrel – not in – which I kept well cleaned and oiled. And, my leather work boots had mold growing on them. And any book with a leather cover was green with mold, even my Sukuma Bible.
So, though we were comfortable at home we had some “cleaning” to do. Such was life. GOOD friends; special travel experiences; But we are home! And, you know, experiences like that make one give thanks for God’s promises of His continual presence and provision.
“…I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” (Heb. 13:5 [ex-context])