Thursday, October 4, 2012

Pot Hole Adventure

   It was a long tedious journey with brother Gary Human to include 28 kilometers of severe road construction and  3 plus hours of driving – one way.  Gary led out in his pickup truck and we followed. This was our farthest adventure to date and it turned out not to be the little hick outpost we anticipated but a thriving populous town.  We were quite surprised by the jammed streets, the open air markets, heavy traffic, the existence of a university, and people teeming all over the place downtown. It’s a sprawling rural town with settlements stretching for a few miles, almost like the settlement of Mdansante I described previously but Mdansante doesn’t have the town size to match this one.

        Driving around this town, through its streets, roads and alleys was a wonderful, obstacle course adventure and a driving range test for anyone interested in obtaining a driver’s license. You have heard of “Dodge Ball,” well this was “Pot Hole Dodge” and in some spots, “Crater Dodge” and for the totally inept driver, “the Dodge-less hole of no return.”  This last hole would take a tow truck to extricate a vehicle.  Hand dug  3’ ditches aligned streets, and pot holes dogged the paved roads  virtually like a checkers’ board.  A homeless person might search for hub caps to make a few Rand (bucks).  Driving ranged from stand still, crawling, to 5-10 mph, to 15-20 with meandering all over the roads.  At one point I got confused in the dark, and in the process of playing “Pothole Dodge”, steered into oncoming traffic to the ire and condemnation of Africans uttering a stream of non-comprehensible lingo.  If they saw the color of my skin then it was probably “Kill the Whiteman.”  It was an interesting experience and my most memorable driving one to date.

     We now have claim to having slept in the “The White House.”  Being that our journey would be long and the road hazardous at night, brother Gary Human decided we would stay overnight in Mthatha and booked us at a bed and breakfast called “The White House”.  The house is white with attached white buildings and a  total of thirty rooms.  It was comfortable and quite nice.

     After checking into our bed and breakfast upon arrival, we followed Gary to the chapel.  By now it was getting dark.  After a fifteen minute pot hole drive, Gary slowed down as we passed four adjacent taverns with Africans drinking beer out front.  Adjacent to the four taverns was a rented building with a sign on it, “Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”  Sister S. said, “Oh, no.” We turned in.  Loud chatter, laughter and clanging of bottles filled the air as we unloaded our bags with our power point presentation and entered the building.  Apparently Land for purchase is hard to come by and the Church is yet to locate land for a future chapel.  A building was needed within reach of branch members and this was one of the few available.   

     There were 12 present including Gary, the branch president, elder’s quorum president and us.  Seven would-be students is encouraging if all pursue a PEF loan for education.  At least there is a university in the town they could attend.  After the presentation, we packed up, and potholed to a downtown restaurant called “Mike’s” to eat dinner.  We could hardly hear each other speak as the groups of Africans were extremely loud, noisy, rambunctious, laughing and shouting as they ate.  After dinner we potholed back to the bed and breakfast. This morning we returned.  So that’s our 24 hour adventure.  Tonight we are going to a high school dance concert.  Have a happy day all.

Elder S.


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