The Mzee Baba Pastors
Gospel Ministry was never supposed to be all resorts, and salt-water pools, and flowers, and speedos, so on the fifth of July I disembarked Mombasa for the trip across Kenya. It got African fairly quickly as I snagged the opportunity to hitch a ride across country with David Zarembka and his wife Gladys. This meant the first 900 kilometers (1mile=1.6k) would be in the back of Dave's pickup which is equipped with a secure cab and bench seats. Sharing the back with me were four Mzee (seasoned) Baba (father) pastors from the Lugulu region. They were only going as far as Nairobi, (having as they did good sense) but they were good company.
You pack a truck cab thusly: most senior closest to the cab as the potholes are ferocious and sneaky, and the lift achieved is greater the farther back you go. SO, I was back by the tailgate, which gave me air and the ability to see forward, and the need for those things, as I am a famous puker. With the Babas, and their luggage, and my luggage, was some nursery stock one of them had acquired, and of course we stopped several times for road side produce. The Babas were amazed at my ability to snatch a tomato out of the air while myself airborn. When the road was smooth enough to permit conversation we shared stories. We found common interests in obscure Biblical references and Botany.
Neither Mama Gladys nor the pastors were drivers, and Zarembka had a bad leg, so when we were good and clear of Mombasa with at least 200k to Nairobi, Friend Z stopped the truck for the another round of the territorial marking of the countryside that old men seem so fond of, and announced "Your turn Peg." I said to the Babas, "What did the captain of Jonah's boat say to the crew and passengers?" "Pray to whatever Gods you have!" chorused the Babas. "Good advice" I said, "I'm going to drive!" Much laughter. Booyah! the girl drives!
Gladys took a turn in the back and Zarembka coached me in driving at high speed on the wrong side of the road. I liked the outside edge of the road but he fueled my courage and insisted I take an inner line, as the worst of the potholes seem to be edgewise. After a few passes of petrol lorries within a foot without my screaming, we settled in, and I did my 200k. On that stretch I saw zebra, baboons, a lone giraffe and many camels. On the far outskirts of Nairobi, I gave it back to Z and rejoined the Babas. They cheered my efforts and claimed that I was very good at sparing their spines. They asked if I had ever ridden a camel, I had not,(neither had they) but told them that I was an experienced horse woman. One of the Babas exclaims "Truly - I love you!" And they all tried to convince me to delay my departure for Burundi with a tour of churches in the Lugulu region. It is mostly kindness, but I think they envisioned tomato juggling on horseback, followed by preaching, and it's true, you don't get that every day.
When they deplane, half-way through a three-hour gridlock Nairobi, I know its am going to be lonely in the back without them.