After 14 gruelling hours behind the wheel, we were nearing our destination for the night in Mbeya Tanzania.
It was already dark outside when we reached the busy town of Mbeya. To our surprize, we came to a complete standstill at 1.1 km from the turnoff to our journey’s end.
Masses of people were streaming uphill. We could clearly see something at the bottom of the road was the matter. Our GPS showed that there were no alternative routes that will take us to our destination. All we could do is wait.
The kids were out of control and extremely hungry. My husband was tired and extremely annoyed, and I just wanted a quiet place with a hot shower where I can cry for hours.
“I’ll get the meat from the fridge while we wait” said my husband and ran to the back of the Fortuner in the grid locked traffic.
I used the ready-made Italian mince to make wraps on my lap while we tried to figure out how we are going to get to our destination.
After a while, we discovered that a Pepsi truck lost its load and overturned. At least now the looting masses made sense.
“There is no way you will be able to continue on this road tonight” someone told us. Hope seemed distant.
“I will show you a way” a voice came from the crowd.
Named after one of Noah’s sons, Japheth came like the dove with an olive branch in his beak.
We followed him on his tattered Chinese motorbike into the back streets of Mbeya with apprehension. He led us into the darkness of the night. The only light we saw was burning paraffin lamps and open fires where people cooked their meals. Some places, the streets were crammed with beer drinking party people swaying to the beat of the loud African music.
At times, the streets were so narrow, we made eye contact with the people sitting inside their houses as we passed them. The road became even darker as we proceeded through the end of the town into the farming community.
Japheth came to a complete stop in front of a corn field. The mealies were standing tall and he took his time to figure out which way to go around them. It felt as if we followed him into the complete opposite direction.
We did some extreme 4×4’ing through deep ditches and dongas and at times it was very slow going.
After 45 minutes, we safely arrived at Utengule Coffee Lodge. Japheth was smiling from ear to ear and with broken lines of communication we thanked him. His reward was taken with great gratitude.
I will never forget the night when Japheth with his olive branch and tattered Chinese motorbike, went out of his way to restore my faith in humanity.