The Road to Moloundou
David’s First Blog from Cameroon
A major part of the vision of Heaven’s Family is not only to serve the “least of these,” but to serve those who want to serve the “least of these.” The value we try to provide to our donors is to give them an efficient, trustworthy means to invest their hard-earned dollars for the benefit of the world’s poorest people, and particularly the poorest among our spiritual family, and to expand Jesus’ kingdom. We do for our investors what most of them would have a very difficult time doing themselves, and we do it for much less money than they could do it themselves. But it isn’t easy or cheap for us, either.
For example, in order to check up on a recent safe-water well project on the border of Cameroon and Congo (and investigate some potential future well projects), I spent 18 hours sardined in an economy class airplane seat, along with an additional 6 hours in airports, and arrived at my hotel in Cameroon’s capital city of Yaounde’ around 9pm, 26 hours after departing from my home in Pittsburgh. I attempted to go to sleep at 10pm, but that wasn’t easy, as I had crossed 6 time zones during my journey—which meant my body thought it was 4pm.
We started our road journey the next morning at 4am—with 550 miles ahead of our small 4-wheel drive pickup truck. The first 200 miles were paved roads. The last 350 were dirt. And those dirt roads, which are essentially impassable during the rainy season (which has just ended), became progressively more rutted and narrow the closer we got to our destination (see photo above).
We arrived at our “hotel” in the village of Moloundou at 3am this morning, having driven nonstop (except for meals and to refuel) for 23 hours. The “hotel” manager, however, had given our two reserved rooms to others who arrived earlier with cash. So we had no choice but to try to sleep in the cramped pickup truck until someone checked out of the “hotel,” which wasn’t until 6am. But when you are exhausted, you can sleep anywhere, in any position.
I put “hotel” in quotes, because it is really just a dilapidated building that has some rooms with “beds” (smelly foam rubber on a bed frame) and toilets (that didn’t flush or have seats). To flush the toilets, you have to pour water from a bucket into the bowl, and that is the same bucket that you have to use if you want to take a “shower.”
Should I complain? During our 550-mile journey yesterday and today, we passed thousands of one-room shacks—all with no running water, electricity, or furniture—that Cameroonian families call their “homes.” The floors are dirt. Those families have no hope of anything better.
Moloundou is not our final destination. The tiny village of Malapa, where our new water well is located, is accessible only via a 30-minute trip down the Ngoko River in a motorized canoe. I’ll be heading there tomorrow, and Malapa will be the topic of my next blog.
The difficulties I’ve described are not untypical among Heaven’s Family’s many staff members whose jobs require overseas travel. It is not always quite as tortuous as I’ve just described, but it is always challenging. We do it, however, for the sake of those who benefit, those who invest, the expansion of Jesus’ kingdom, and for the glory of God.