Friday, November 13, 2015

What if you thought you were going to die? Part III (The end)

In the previous two posts (Nov 9, 11) I recounted the first part of our harrowing road trip. I later learned that this was called "La Trocha" which means a small trail through the forest. It was a new "road" built by the Costa Rican police force- their "army".

At La Curena, I taught for the next 5 days.  In that five day period, including a Sunday, I taught about 43 hours.  Sunday was a rest day, so I only taught 3 hours and we all attended the services at one of my student's churches.  He preached and did a terrific job with lots of energy.

Over the 43 hours of teaching about teaching, I felt G^d's direction as a result of the prayers of many of my dear Christian friends, some of whom I had told about my likely impending death.  G^d gave direction, words, Scriptures, all at what seemed the right time.

I was happy to have again to have lived long enough to have met my commitment.  We headed back for the mid-jungle site, and we all agreed that we would try a different route.  After getting lost once, we figured it out, and made a relatively uneventful trip, only running one stop sign with a taxi honking loudly at us. Oh yes, the the truck seemed to be losing water at a rapid rate. I was a bit concerned.

In the last 2 hours of this trip our truck started protesting.  It sounded as though a key wheel bearing was giving up the ghost.  And, I suspected this would be the vehicle to get me back to civilization.

Sure enough, he only boat capable of carrying me the 1.5 hours back to civilization had gone with another one of my students, Juan, to take him to his wife and two little children.  I was going by truck- the one with the bad bearing.  Fortunately, my driver was the BEST mechanic at the farm, and as we ere leaving, a local guy, Donaldo, asked if he could ride with us.  Great to travel with these two valuable guys.

The truck noises seemed to grow a bit worse, but about 24 miles from civilization, every belt on the engine came off.  Of the next 5 cars to pass us on the gravel road, three stopped to help Donaldo.  while the two skilled mechanics worked on the belts, I dipped about 2 liters of water out of a mudhole to supply the cooling system which had overheated after the belts came off.  I had one last commitment at U of Costa Rica, and was hoping to make that commitment before I gave up the ghost.

At every step, as my trip neared its end, I realized my time was growing shorter by the mile. If the bus wrecked, I'd tr to save that little girl. On the plane, I'd try to help that family... see what I mean?

To bring this long story to a close, let me summarize:
1) Made it to the talk at UCR, and it seemed to go extremely well.
2) I survived the whole trip and made it home safely.
3) I learned a great deal from this adventure.

But more about that in the final Costa Rica post.


  1. So when you got home, was Brenda, like, "Um, dude, what are you doing here?"

    1. Glad you've at least lived to tell the tale up to Part 3. Gripping reading, can't wait for the last bit! (Here's hoping you won't cark it ere posting.)