trusting . resting . following

Ferry Land

November 13, 2012
Every Sunday this month Justa and I are teaching the children out at the village church of Nyamasale.  The journey takes 1-2 hours (2 ½ hrs last week) each way, including a ferry ride.   I thought I’d explain more what “taking a ferry ride” means in Tanzania… lest you somehow subconsciously mistake it for some “fairy ride” Disneyland adventure. :-) 

Quick geography lesson: Lake Victoria, the second largest fresh water lake in the world, has many little “fingers” reaching out from the land.  Nyamasale is not on an island (although there are over 50 inhabited islands on the lake!), rather it’s located on the other side of one of these fingers.  Driving up to the edge, you can just see land across the "finger" of the lake.

Anyway… there are 2 ferries that work the Busisi crossing.  Cars, buses, and semis can all drive onto the ferries.  One is wide enough to park 4 cars wide, the other only 3.  The two ferries run constantly, crossing each other on the water each hour (when all is running smoothly).  

Stuck in my car on the ferry, looking ahead.
On the ferry, looking behind me.
From week to week, I never know which ferry we’ll end up using, the larger or the smaller.  Last week we were on the smaller one for both trips.  I prefer the larger.  Parking on the smaller 3-car-wide ferry is tricky.  Others may be used to squeezing between 2 trucks with literally 2 inches to spare between side mirrors.  I am not.  Both coming and going, my car was squeezed in so tight, I couldn’t open my door.  The ride takes about half an hour to cross.  Usually I like to get out, walk up to the top deck and enjoy the view and nice breeze.  Last week I couldn’t get out.  I was near the front of the line, and watched as trucks and buses and semis parked behind me.  My mind wandered to the recent ferry accidents on the east coast of TZ.   

If we started going down, how in the world would I get out of this car?  I’ve never had a panic attack, but I started to feel what the beginnings of one must be like.  I forced myself to think of other things… but not before I had memorized a friend’s number (just in case I were able to climb out of my car window and jump into the water and get rescued.  Then even if I remembered to bring my phone, it would be destroyed in the water.  So then if I borrowed someone's phone, who could I call... I don't know have anyone's number memorized!)  Oh brother.  How the mind can race with irrational fears!  I know full well that the waves of Lake Victoria are nothing compared to the waves of the Indian Ocean… especially in the little “finger” of the lake where we cross, but fears generally don’t grow out of rational thinking do they?

The larger ferry passing by.
I've decided that next Sunday rather than letting my mind run wild, I will be treasuring Psalm 139 as I adventure into "ferry land."
"O Lord, Thou hast searched me, and known me.  Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, Thou art acquainted with all my ways... Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me.  Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it... How precious also are Thy thoughts unto me, O God!  how great is the sum of them!  If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand; when I awake, I am still with Thee."

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