If you missed part 1, I suggest you read it HERE, before reading Part 2. You wouldn’t watch The Desolation of Smaug before watching The Unexpected Journey would you? Actually, just read the book, it’s way better. (It’s The Hobbit, people… honestly!)
Lara and I hugged and cried for about 10 seconds and then survival mode kicked in. We got Henry and tried to clean his wounds (he had open wounds on his left arm and both lower legs). Luckily, there were bags full of clothes that had been brought with as a donation in the back of the car, so we got a t-shirt and tore it into strips so we could dress the wounds and stop the bleeding. We also gave Henry some of our “padkos” (breakfast bars and energade) to help with the shock and get some sugar into his system. Chris then decided to follow the direction that the the guys ran away in to see if they maybe dropped the car keys or anything. I grabbed a big metal hiking stick and went along, thinking that I would swing at anyone with all my might if they had to jump at me.
After a few meters of walking and not finding anything we turned back to the car. Henry was really weak and could not walk, so we couldn’t get back to the town, which was few kilometres away through semi-rough terrain. So Chris tried to hotwire the car, but that didn’t work as it is an automatic and they have that immobiliser thing going on. Chris did get the car to switch on so that we could open and close windows and flash the headlights. We got Henry comfortable on the front passenger seat of the car and the 4 of us sat in the car, singing worship songs. I could only remember about 2, which is embarrassing considering how much time had been spent on the worship team. During the attack and after, siting in the car was the most time I had spent praying in tongues, ever. When fear grips you out of the blue like that… sho. It was in that time, sitting in the car with Henry injured and stranded in the bushes with potential attackers, that I thought about all the “what if’s”.
Lara and I were wearing skirts, what if they raped us? What if they killed Henry? What if they killed us all? What if they come back hoping that we had abandoned the car because they had the keys, and we were still there? What if some wild animals came and attacked us? All these really useless thoughts that cripple you if you do not stop them. I think that’s why I kept on singing even if this was the 20th time I sang How Great is Our God, and praying, it was far better than thinking about the “what if’s”. I remember asking God to please would give those men the wisdom to read the Bible and get to know Him but not the wisdom to forge our passports.
I’m not entirely sure about the time frames but I think the attack happened at about 16:00 and by now it had started to go dark. Chris would signal an SOS with first the car’s headlights and then get a big torch and climb to the top of the outlook and signal SOS from there. We could see the lights of the nearest town and we hoped that someone would look to the mountains… I think he did this about 6/7 times during the night. It got so dark (that time before the moon sits high enough), can’t see your hand kinda dark, and we had to go wee behind the car in that dark. Now that I’m fine with in NORMAL situations, but with impending danger AND with hyenas laughing in the distance, That I’m not so fine with, help with the weeing tho. (Too much? Meh). At around midnight it started getting really cold so we got some of the clothes to warm up. Then the mosquitos… God, why do those exist? I mean really, how do they bring honour to Your name? Anyway, any piece of skin that was exposed got attacked.
We dosed off for a few minutes here and there and Chris assured us that our hosts in Zambia is surely looking for as and must have notified the authorities that we are missing. I just kept thinking, these guys are going to come back and find us here. That’s when, at around 02:00 we talked and somehow, (I can’t remember all the details) decided that Chris, Lara and myself would walk back to town and go for help. I felt bad leaving Henry defenseless and alone, but what other help was coming? So we prayed for God to protect Henry and then we walked, and walked… and walked. In just moonlight, afraid to use a torch so as not to draw the attention of other attackers that might be in the bushes. God provided us with an extra bright moon that night so we didn’t really need a torch most of the time. Lemme tell you, that walk felt like forever, walking in complete silence, at the back, EVERYTHING sounds suspicious. Everything sounds like you are being followed. I don’t know for how long we walked, it must have been about 2 hours give or take. We eventually got to the main road and saw a girl, walking to school, at like 4 in the morning. We got her attention and asked her if she could show us where the police station is. She told us to follow her to the bus stop where all the other school kids were waiting, the bus driver will take us to border patrol, which was the closest police station.
We spent about 3 hours there, waiting for a police car and filling in reports and papers ect. I remember there was a chicken… what was the chicken doing in the police station?? Anyway, it turns out, we had decided to stop for a tourist moment right in the middle of gang turf. The policeman also had words on how ill-advised it was to be at abandoned tourist sights. We should have known better. Yeah, hindsight always has the clearest view. The sun was sitting high when at around 07:00 we got into a police car and tracked our way back to where we had left Henry in the car. It was 4×4 terrain and the police car had some trouble getting up some of the hills. As we turned the second last corned before we got to the car, my and Chris’ eye caught something glimmering on a rock on the side of the road, and there was all our credit/debit/account cards, passports, the car keys, driver’s licences, everything taken out of our wallets and neatly put in a pile on the rock, on the only way back up to the car.
We got to the car and Henry was still as okay as could be expected. We drove back down to the police station for another statement, and there our hosts were waiting for us with hugs and joy on their faces. They had been in touch with the church in South Africa and everyone had been praying for our safety.
Thereafter we took Henry to the only hospital that was available where sadly he didn’t receive the kind of care he needed. Both his left radius and ulna (both bones in the forearm) had been broken and he needed treatment for the cuts on his legs. He had to fly back to Johannesburg the next day to receive proper care. We did have a team photo taken when we got back to South Africa after the mission trip.
After being at the hospital for an hour or so the rest of us drove back to our host’s house/farm where we got taken such good care of. After a bath in a bucket (no jokes), Lara and I tried to get some sleep until the boys and John arrived back. John and Chris then came and sat with us, counseling, talking and praying that we would not be traumatised in any way and that God would keep our minds safe. We still had about 2 weeks of mission left in Zambia.
That night our host had to shoot crackers in her crops, that grow right up to the house, with only a fence dividing the grass of the yard and the crops, to keep the elephants away from the house… TIA – THIS IS AFRICA.