Thursday, May 29, 2008

Road Trip

Edenvale and Soweto
May 18, 2008
Well today was quite the adventure to say the least! We decided that the traffic is not busy on Sunday morning so it would be Denise’s first driving experience in Africa. Let me explain something about driving in Africa, they drive on the left side of road and your turn signal knob in on the right side of the steering wheel. The windshield wipers are on the left, the complete opposite of home. The traffic was pretty light this morning as we headed out. Now I am driving some kind of small Kia car that we don’t even have in the states. There are lots of things to remember -- I remembered to keep my body to the right of center stripe, trying to figuring out what lane to turn into, turning on the windshield wipers every time I wanted to turn, finding that two lanes suddenly merge into one, and that the same street name changes every 2 or 3 blocks. I guess that I tend to drive to close to the left side of the road— that what Ralph kept telling me, but I haven’t hit a curb yet.
First mistake was using someone else’s directions to get there. We arrived in the right town without any problems. I even got on the freeway—next problem is the speed limit is in Kilometers! The police have photo radar everywhere and they give ticket for being 3 miles over the speed limit. After we arrived in Edenvale, the directions were wrong and we spent the next 30 mins. trying to find the church. Now remember I am driving—have any of you seen the show a Amazing Race when the woman is driving and the guy is trying to hold his temper, she gets upset because he yelling at her , she starts to cry and wants him to drive, but no-- he wants to read the map —Well just imagine! I thought I could take criticisms well. But not in a strange place, being home sick and lost! Well we finally made it to church safe and sound 5 mins. late.
Church ends and it’s time to return home. After this morning’s episode I don’t want to drive home, but Ralph says it will be good for me! I get back on the main road we came in on and we are to return to Johannesburg. The signs say straight ahead, I follow it, Ralph’s navigating, now remember I got there on the freeway, as we start driving I go over the freeway into a town. The signs still say straight ahead. As we continue driving it become apparent that we shouldn’t be in this neighborhood. Little did we know we were driving right into an area of town where the major rioting is going on! Black people lining the streets 5 and 7 deep with signs, garbage, broken bottles, overturned cars, large cement pillars in the street. Police in riot gear and squad cars everywhere. Ralph says just keep driving! I wanted to stop and have him drive-or turn around and go back -- but that wasn’t safe either! He tells me to drive slowly so I don’t have to stop at any stoplights. This goes on for what seems like an eternity and Ralph says it looks like we’re headed to the down town area. We arrive in the downtown area and find a street we know. I forgot to mention we had a map which was useless as the streets we were on were not on it. As I head up the hill I see the spires of the temple and I now know where I am and how to get home. Ralph in his profound wisdom now asks if I would like him to drive. I declined because after that traumatic event I was going to make it home safely! I got us home safely to find someone had parked in my assigned space-- what an end to my day! Back in the apt. we find a different map and realize we were in Soweto one most dangerous slums in the most dangerous area of all of Africa. Thank heavens God looks after us daily. If any of you who are reading this know my mother please do not relay this story to her or my sister Janet as they are worried about our safety! We are getting the GPS tomorrow!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Off to Africa

Well we're off to Africa! We have accepted a call to take care of the health and welfare of missionaries for The Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints for 18 months. We will be covering 20 countries. This is a new adventure for us. We will be leaving Tues. evening with a 6 hour layover in London and then on down to Johanesburg South Africa, arriving Thurs. morning.