Car problems and Namibia are two things that go hand in hand. David knows this as well as any person who has owned a car in Namibia. The car that David owned in Namibia was a small, trusty, Toyota truck, lovingly named “Dolf.” Three people could fit in the front seat, and in Namibia, 30 could fit on the back. Dolf provided a way to get to the “mall” while we were at YWAM, and served as a bedroom for Kyle during the outreach in Gobabis. It was perfect for Namibia.
In July 2002, Dolf met Hermanetta. Hermanetta was a large Oryx, an Oryx is a majestic buck that some say inspired the unicorn myth. There was nothing magical about this Oryx though. In the middle of the night, on the way to Opuwo it stepped out in front on Dolf, causing a horrible accident.
Earlier that month David and Kyle had returned to Namibia after a month long furlough. They brought three fellow Americans with them. Deborah, a fellow YWAM student, and I were in Namibia waiting for them. After spending a few days in Windhoek, buying supplies and planning the rest of the month, we got all loaded up and headed out. The trip up to Opuwo can take anything from six to ten hours. Deborah and Angie sat up front with Kyle, who was driving. And the rest of us slept in the back. The truck was loaded up to the roof in the back. After a few hours of driving, we were sleeping really well in the back, and Kyle was making really good time. All of a sudden the car lurched forward violently, there was a sickening sound of metal crunching, and for a second the car lifted to one side and rolled forward on two wheels, before being dragged to a stop.
I remember sitting up and looking forward, but I couldn’t see out the front windshield, it was obscured by the crunched metal and the smoke pouring out of the engine. The strangest thing is that the choking smell of raw sewage and fresh meat was permeating the air. I looked out of the side mirror, and this majestic Oryx was trapped under the car, struggling to move.
We struggled out of the car, dazed by what had just happened. I remember it being really cold. When the three front passengers got out of the car, they were covered in a sticky dark fluid. At first we thought someone was bleeding, but then we realized it was barbecue sauce (the bottle had been tucked under the seat). The Oryx struggled for a little while and then died. When we inspected the car, we realized that the Oryx had saved us. When we hit her she was sucked under the car and trapped under the back wheel, effectively dragging us to a stop. We had a trailer behind the car, if the Oryx had gone under it, it may have rolled the car.
David, Nadia and I hitchhiked to the closest town to call for help. Help came in the form of some YWAM staff members. They drove out and picked us and the wrecked car up. When we found the car again we realized that we had taken a wrong turn somewhere along the way, and we were half way to Swakopmund, and nowhere near Opuwo.
It took $2800, and three months to get Dolf fixed, and road worthy again. However, in those three months we had to learn to depend on God and His people to get from point A to B. It was an adventure, there was even a day when the person that gave us a ride had a goat on the back of his truck, and David had to sit on that goat the whole way! We look forward to getting back to Namibia, and picking out the car that will carry us all over the country again!!