The friends pile into Madala’s Land Rover for a journey.
Themes Found in This Story:
- Travel in Africa
Possible Bible Memory Verse:
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” -Matthew 28:19
- Traveling Game
- Passport Craft
- Photo Gallery: Travel in Africa
“Come on you lot, shift!” Madala’s voice cut through the early morning air. “It’s almost dawn, we need to get going!”
“But Madala, it’ so ear— ear—early,” Suloliko said, breaking into a yawn.
“Yes, but if we want to get there before dark tonight, we’d best get a move on,” he told her. Suloliko nodded, too sleepy to say any more. She set her bag in the others and climbed into Madala’s Land Rover. Nyati was already wedged into the back seat, his horns scraping the roof, with Kili squished in beside him. Suloliko got into the middle row of seats where Maro was settling Toulouse and Jejy in for the ride. (Fran- cois and Philibert were on the roof, tying everyone’s bags down on the luggage rack.) Omu- longa sat in the front seat with Jos, and Santo was down on the floor in front of them in his bucket. They were going to a town far away as part of a missions trip.
When the last bag was tied down, Francois and Philibert swung down through the window to join their sister. Tshameka and Reë leapt up into the driver’s seat, and after a brief scuffle, Tshameka ended up on the floor to work the pedals, while Reë got to remain in the seat and shift gears.
“Right! Everyone in, then?” Madala asked, climbing up onto the steering wheel. “Let’s have a prayer before we set off. Nyati?”
Nyati’s deep voice boomed out from the back of the vehicle. “Lord, thank you for this opportunity you’ve given us to travel together, and for Madala and his willingness to share his car with us. We ask that you watch over us as we travel and guide us safely to our destination. In your Name we pray, Amen.”
“Amen,” chorused the others. With that, Ma- dala started up the car, and they were off. The first few hours passed quietly, as nearly ev- eryone besides the drivers had fallen back to sleep. After the sun came up the ride became much more lively.
“Hold tight, everyone, we’re reaching the end of the tarmac,” Madala warned, as the end of the paved road approached them. “It’s going to get a bit bumpy. Santo, can you do something to keep that from splashing out?” he asked, looking down at the water swirling in Santo’s bucket.
“Don’t worry,” Santo said with a smile. “I came prepared.” With that, he disappeared down into the bucket in swirl of bubbles, pulling a lid over the top of the bucket with one flipper.
Once they hit the dirt road, Madala was right—things became very bumpy indeed. The little lemurs laughed as they hit a particularly large bump and Philibert went flying into the air, catch- ing hold of one of Nyati’s horns before he flew out the window. Maro, on the other hand, did not find it quite as amusing, and insisted they shut the window. Up in the front, Madala was running back and forth across the steering wheel, flinging the car across the road as he tried to avoid the largest of the potholes.
A little while later the road smoothed out, and they made good time until they got stuck in the sand. Everyone had to get out and push (although really, Nyati did most of the heavy lifting) and soon they were on their way again.
“Ooh, look!” said Omulonga. “There’s the river.” Up ahead of them stretched the mighty river, much wider and deeper here than it was by their home.
“Excellent!” said Madala. “We’ve made it in time to catch the ferry! Here, boy, slow down!” he added, whapping Tshameka on the head with his cane. “You don’t want to drive us straight into the water.”
They pulled onto the ferry, and everyone got out again, this time to stretch their legs and enjoy the fresh air as the ferry made its way slowly across the river. The lion cubs and Kili held a contest to see who could throw a stone the farthest into the water, and Maro kept busy trying to keep her brothers and sister from climbing on the railing. Everyone oohed and aahed as a school of brightly colored fish swam by underneath them. Santo waved happily to a turtle they saw swimming the other way, saying that was his friend, Franco, from school.
When they reached the other side, it was a short drive up the hill to the border station. “Right, everyone, passports out!” Madala instructed. They all tramped inside, and about an hour later they tramped back out again with their passports stamped and signed.
They drove on, enjoying another stretch of paved road. They met a chicken who was hitchhiking and gave him a lift to the next town, where they stopped at a little café for lunch.
“How are we doing?” asked Jos as he sat with Madala.
“Oh, not bad,” Madala answered as he inspected a piece of lettuce. “That business with the sand slowed us down, but I imagine we’ll make it by dinner time. The chicken said they’ve paved the road right up to the bridge, so we ought to make some excellent time there.”
The friends piled back into the car after lunch. “Halfway there,” Madala told them. “You lot all doing alright?”
“We’re great,” said Suloliko.
“Let’s hit the road!” squeaked Philibert, and everyone laughed. They carried on, and even with a flat tire and getting stuck in the mud, they did indeed make it by dinner time.