Thursday, June 13, 2013

Thursday was our big hike day. Dr. Carol suggested hiking along the ridge of the mountain to a waterfall, and we were glad to comply. We started out after breakfast along the same road we had taken the previous two days. But we soon passed that point and started the real fun. We hiked through tall grass, up mountains, across the stream a couple of times (using our engineering skills the second time), and finally to an overlook of the waterfall. The scenery was simply amazing the entire time. Most of the hike was along the ridge of the mountains, so we could see the valleys on either side. I think I could try to describe the view for paragraphs and it still wouldn’t do it justice, so I’m not going to try since time is rather short anyway. I wish we had the internet speed to put up some pictures so you could at least get an idea, but since we don’t, I guess you’ll just have to find one of us when you get back if you would like to see it.

We got back to the guesthouse, packed up our stuff, ate a quick lunch, and were back on the road to Fomban. We dropped the guys off and they had a fun evening with the Ms playing Diminishing Rook. After we sadly separated our team again, the girls went to eat at the chwarma place before heading home to Bandjoun. We had a nice dinner, but the evening took an unexpected turn after that. As soon as we pulled out onto the road from the restaurant, a SUV backed out straight toward us. Ellen laid on her horn, but the guy didn’t slow down until right before hitting us. Fortunately, no one was hurt, and there was only minimal damage. The only problems were a large dent in the driver’s side door and the right mirror was knocked off. However, the missing mirror was a big problem. Ellen drives a truck with a covered back, so her rear-view mirror is already useless. Side mirrors are her only option for looking back, and believe me, you want to be able to see everything you can on African roads. The Lord took care of us though. Before dinner, we ran into Princess, Ellen’s former landlady, just down the street. So as soon as it happened, Ellen called her up to come help us deal with the man. He was insistent that it was equally our fault and his fault, when it obviously was completely his fault. We knew that calling the police was practically pointless, so Ellen and Princess stood outside and bargained with him for over an hour. Ellen had to get her mirror fixed before driving back to Bandjoun, so it was finally decided that they would go to a repair shop and the man would pay for the mirror. We could not get him to give us his real phone number (yes, he tried to give us a fake one) or any other contact information, so we knew that trying to find him again to pay for the door was pointless. But Ellen and Princess eventually got him to pay for the mirror that didn’t match the other one (but was cheaper than the real thing). While they were bargaining and then putting on the mirror, things were interesting for us girls inside. Accidents of course draw a crowd, and when it involves a white American woman, the crowd is even bigger. They were happy to take sides in the “who’s paying” argument, never mind that probably none of them had ever met Ellen or the man before. They also were happy to talk to all the white girls in Ellen’s truck. Of course, they were all talking in French, but somehow, a lot of those things are universal. We also had Lydia Loescher with us, and she kept us up to date with how many men had asked us to marry them so far. We have learned that the best strategy is not to make eye contact, so we had some interesting conversations in the car about anything and everything that required us to look at each other and not them. Joy even started to teach me some Hebrew as a distraction from the guy directly outside her window. We finally got the mirror on, paid for, and we headed to Bandjoun. When we finally reached there much later than we intended, we got our pitcher showers and headed straight to bed.

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Dan Olinger

Chair, Division of Bible in the BJU School of Religion.

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