This will have to be posted without much editing, due to time constraints because of some last-minute changes. Our latest plan, as of Tuesday, was to head to the village as soon as possible after Wellington’s next two doctor’s appointments, scheduled for April 4th and 8th, next Monday and Friday.
But yesterday evening, Juliana came to my apartment saying that there was a change in the plans, and that a Neno man who lives here in the city is heading to the village with his big truck, providing a ride for about 10 Neno people who have been stranded here in Ji-Pa. As she spoke, my mind started to race. “Are we going to the village tomorrow instead? I still haven’t washed my sheets, or bought a mattress and index cards and a hammock. And what about saying good-bye, via technology, to my family and friends? Not gonna sleep tonight!” But that was mixed with a happy adrenaline rush and an internal exclamation of, “Finally! Am I really heading to my new home? Yay!”
Thankfully, the change was nothing so drastic as I imagined. Juliana asked what I thought about the idea of grocery shopping, in order to send as many of our supplies to the village in the truck, since there would definitely be plenty of space. We don’t know for sure who will end up giving us a ride, but it will be a smaller vehicle than that, for sure.
Their idea, while it was last-minute, sounded smart and doable. I love that kind of plan!
(Wait, do I hear some sighs or grumbling from far, far away? Oh, you thought WE were going to the village today when you saw the title? So sorry to have confused you. No, not us, only our supplies. Actually, the title was a purely intentional writer’s trick to get your attention. I also wanted you to have the chance to feel a small adrenaline rush and disappointment similar to mine, so that you can be included in this adventure, as much as possible. If that’s not a good enough reason, consider it an April Fool’s Day prank).
Anyway, last night we spent 2 hours in a delightfully air-conditioned store, grocery shopping, while talking a little…although, in Wellington’s words, “If that was a little talking, I don’t want to be around when it’s a lot!” On our way back, we stopped at the weekly farmer’s market to buy honey, bananas, and delicious, crispy, deep-fried pastels, stuffed with ground beef, cheese, and seasonings.
Back in my apartment, I called my mom to talk for a bit, then stayed up until 1 AM organizing and packing all the personal belongings that could be sent ahead.
The truck owner was planning to leave after lunch, so this was Our Official Plan (OOP) for this morning:
- Load up the car.
- Wellington and Juliana take the load to the truck, on the other side of the city.
- Paulette stay with Lorena and Isadora, who were just waking up.
- Wellington and Juliana take Paulette to buy a bed and mattress.
- Deliver bed and mattress to the truck.
- Say good-bye to Neno friends.
- Return back to our base city “home.”
Good OOP, right? Well, it started off fine. Step 1 was easy. Wellington and Juliana left to complete Step 2, while I stayed to complete step 3. Great teamwork, right? Side note: pretty sure Step 3 was more fun, cuddling a sleepy 3-year-old, giving the girls breakfast, and playing with them. Isadora was just starting to draw a picture to show me what some of her friends look like, when the car pulled up.
The first thing I noticed was that it was still full of our groceries, my stuff, and their big barrels. When Wellington and Juliana arrived at the Neno house, shortly after 9 AM, it was empty! Unless they ate a very early lunch, the group must have changed their plans for some reason, probably wanting to hit the road early, in case it rains in the afternoon. Their changed schedule resulted in OOPS – Our Official Plan Spoiled.
So, at the beginning of the post, you were supposed to think WE might be headed to the village. But at the end of the day, not even our supplies made it there. Hopefully our Neno friends have made it back home, at least, since they got such an early start. And just in case you wonder, we’re truly not frustrated with them. They had no obligation to transport our supplies in the first place, so if it worked better for them to leave earlier, no need to wait around on our account.
Also, since I’m sure that April Fool’s Day is not part of Neno culture, it ended up being a funny coincidence for what could be considered an unintended “prank” on us. I chuckled at the irony. In the long run, our rushing around wasn’t a waste of time anyway. Well, maybe loading the car and unloading it again, but that part only took 10 minutes. Now we have boxes of groceries and other things all piled and ready to go at a moment’s notice. Less things to do later is always a plus.
Today was also a perfect opportunity to practice teamwork, patience, and flexibility. All of those abilities are helpful in anyone’s life, but practically nonnegotiable for missionaries. If you have read this post to the end, thank you for sticking with me through this long-but-true April 1st tale, despite the “tricky title” and some twists and turns along the way. Thanks for being a flexible friend.