It was a long day.
I had left my house shortly after 6am that morning, because that’s when I was most likely to find transport to town. After standing on the roadside on the edge of town for awhile, I found a truck that was willing to drive me to the next village, where I would meet up with a friend and do a quick errand. Then onto town, just 40km away. Shouldn’t take long, right?
It took about 4 hours to get to town. That’s just how travel works in rural South Africa when you don’t own a car.
And of course, our ride to the training 2 hours north wouldn’t arrive until about 1pm. So my friend and I spent some time doing errands in town, and we went to the tiny grocery store to grab lunch. We ended up sitting on the curb outside the store, eating lunch and waiting for two teachers from our school to join us.
Around 1pm, as we start looking out for our transport to the training, we get a call from the Peace Corps driver. They are running late, and furthermore, they miscounted, and they didn’t have enough seats for us. So they’d have to drop off the group and return to pick us up.
AKA, we’d be waiting 3-4 hours more. In a village where we had no place to wait except the curb outside the grocery store.
We were stuck. And a little mad. But this was Africa, so we just dealt with it.
About 4 hours later, we get a call from another Peace Corps employee, saying the driver got lost and apparently doesn’t have cell phone reception. Nobody knows where he is, so they were sending another driver out to pick us up. And it would be another 2 hours.
At this point, I start freaking out a bit because it’s getting dark and the streets aren’t safe after dark. After several random half-English calls, we find ourselves in some guy’s truck, headed to some person’s house. We chilled with the family (I still don’t know who they were exactly) until finally (FINALLY) the transport showed up. We hopped on board and headed north.
The best part of the story? As we pulled into the training site, our 14 passenger van got stuck in the sand on the side of the road. I’d been traveling for 15 hours at this point, and we were stuck on the roadside at 9pm. Thankfully, someone with a huge truck happened to drive by, and those kind souls stopped to unstick us.
By the time we reached the lodge, it was booked full. I ended up sleeping in the lodge owner’s teenage daughter’s room, surrounded by Justin Bieber posters. There was also a rogue warthog which tried to break down the door of the house.
And yet, it all worked out and the training was wonderful. Y’all? This is Africa! And sometimes being stuck ends up being an exhausting but interesting experience!