Lisa and I took a 12 hour bus ride from Lilongwe, Malawi to Lusaka, Zambia last week. Actually, it was 16 hours, but who’s counting? Not the driver or his captain, that’s for sure. These idiots managed to add 4 hours to the trip! But really, what’s an extra 4 hours? I’m not bitter.
I guess I’m just sorry I’m not African. What is normal here is so far from the normal I’m used to. How do you cope with that? An extra 4 hours, the other passengers didn’t seem to mind. This is their normal. The bathroom situation, not normal to me. Food situation, not normal to me. The heat, the seats, the space at our feet, the sights outside, the smells inside, nothing in this picture was normal to me. I wonder if such conditions persisted in my home, fixing them could be the topmost priority for me. For instance, if the bathroom has clogged drains, leaky pipes, and clogged drains, contacting a plumbing company (visit https://cityplumbingandrooter.com/thousand-oaks/ to learn more) might be the most appropriate option for bathroom repair. However, services like a clean bathroom, good food, and ample space seem to be unavailable in this vehicle. This bus could not be suitable for traveling long distances. At one point I think we almost crashed, although I can’t be sure as I couldn’t see out the window. I know in the US, I would be contacting a personal injury lawyer from a firm like Lamber-Goodnow if the trip had been any worse. Anyone involved in a bus accident can visit them to see how to receive compensation. However, my fellow passengers did not seem to mind the long hours or near-death experiences.
In this madness I was upset with myself because I thought I should be ok with all of this. After all, there was a bus full of people, and no one was complaining. If my good friend Peter Scibelli was on the bus that day, he would likely be in jail tonight. Sixty Africans, not a single complaint.
The reality is, you can’t get angry; you can’t complain about something normal. It would be like getting angry because there was too much food at Golden Corral. No, it’s normal to have that much food at the Golden Corral.
As the hours passed, I got to thinking, and got less annoyed with myself. It’s ok that this is not my normal. I choose to live here, so I have to live with it. Maybe it will be my normal someday, but it’s not today, and I can live with that. It’s ok that I was born where I was born, with the conveniences that I have been afforded. I can’t change that.
Where we come from has so much to do with who we are. Instead of spending hours regretting my weakness, I should have been thanking God for who I am and for my strengths. Do you think Christ came down and said to the Father, “Hey, it’s really dirty down here!” No, He was about His Father’s business, and that wasn’t going to change, no matter where He was.
I second Tom and appreciate your honesty in this post. There’s nothing wrong with a little venting or being frustrated. It’s what we do after that matters, (your Pete Scibelli reference). Sometimes people can paint the missionary life as one that is glorious and if something goes wrong or rubs us the wrong way, well we should just smile and nod, but that’s not real life. Your posts are real life, Matt. Thanks for that.
Im am certainly hoping not to have to take that bus again. It was good to do it at least once.
Hey Matt, thanks for your transparent thoughts. Maybe long bus rides will not be often occurrences while you are there. Next time you will be more mentally prepared. Love ya