Family & Friends,
I will never, never ever drive in Rwanda . . . until tomorrow. Tomorrow came on Sunday. It was beautiful and traffic very light. I remembered all the correct turns and arrived at church early. Then I saw the gas needle pointing to “empty”. Was that mostly empty or completely empty? (Princess Bride was helpful here) I knew of one gas station that seemed light years away. I arrived not knowing that I did not have enough money to fill it up. Thankfully, you have to tell how many francs of gas you want. I guessed an amount, but the gas tank door was locked. I could not find the release. I fumbled for the car manual, but was sure that it did not exist. It was right in the glove compartment like it should be! Then I discovered the manual was written in German and some language with Ümlauts. Before I could sweat through my Sunday clothes, the attendant lifted my floor foot pad to reveal the hidden lever. I arrived home safe and sound and a little over confident.
Unfortunately, Monday followed Sunday. I needed to drive a mission staff member to the bank to solve a few problems. The bank was in downtown Kigali known as chaos central. Here there is less space and more cars so people are naturally more anxious and risky. We found a good parking place. Then I remembered, I can’t parallel park. My blind eye distorts distances. I tried anyway at the subtle encouragement of my passenger – “Hurry, hurry, get in!” My eight point maneuver resulted in success, but created a line of unhappy Kigali campers. Two hours later my bank problems were solved according to the bank. Then I remembered, I can’t unparallel park. My windows were all fogged up after a surprise shower. The street parking guy took my money and demanded “Go quickly, quickly.” I wiped the windows, lurched, stalled, and I was going to cry, but my passenger said, “Go, go, go!” The eight point reverse maneuver now had people forcing their way past as I tried to get out. Then I faintly heard a gentle African accent say, “Do you want me to drive?” I said firmly, “No, it’s my car. And no, I am not crying! That is sweat.” I am pleased to say that nothing got killed, but a little over confidence.
Rwandan Rookie, G