Saturday, April 28, 2007


Seven months after we arrived in Nigeria we went on our first “trek” with another missionary couple.
We left on Friday afternoon.
At Gayam we left the car and walked 1.5 hours to the river. We crossed in a small boat en spent the night at the village there.
One of our evangelists lived there.
The next morning we continued our trek, a journey of about 5 hours through the bush.
On this image from Google Earth you can see the road, the river and the area into which we walked.
We arrived in a small village where most people had never seen a white person.
We spent the night there, after enjoying their hospitality. I think it was there that we were treated to the pleasure of watching them prepare our meat for the meal – a large bush rat that was considered to be a delicacy in that area.
The next morning my colleague and I started a trip around a few villages to preach the gospel.
We would arrive unannounced.The entire village would come out to listen.
We would hold a short service including sermon, translated into the vernacular language of that place.
Then we would head to the next village.
By the end of the afternoon we had visited four villages and were back with our wives.
I’ll never forget how I felt just after dinner.
The fever started in my ankles and slowly took over my whole body.
Soon the diarrhoea followed. Malaria.
It seemed like I spent the whole night hovered over the small hole in the ground behind the compound.
The following morning we had to get back home.
I had no choice – I had to walk.
And that is what I did – with lots of rest stops along the way.
We got back to the river, crossed and walked to the car.
Two hours over the bumpy road home.
When we got home we saw that the airplane was waiting for us.
We expected that, because we were expecting guests: the Africa Director of our mission and two Board members.
But there was more than that.
We had left Sarah (age 1) behind with a colleague. She also had been terribly sick with malaria, and they wanted to fly her immediately to the hospital.
Within ten minutes Cyndi and Sarah were gone.
I was left behind with the dignitaries.
I told them to figure it out for themselves and went to bed.
It took me weeks to recover.
During the rest of our time in Nigeria I went on some trek, but I was never at ease.
Funny how an experience like that hangs around in your subconscious.

(Note: this is the fourteenth in a series of blogs celebrating the 30-year anniversary of our departure for Nigeria. The blogs can be found under the label "Anniversary". Click here for the first one.)

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