This has been quite an experience the last couple of weeks. This is the first chance I have had to sit down and write about it all! Among some of the things going on are the regular every day things such as home schooling, language learning, cleaning the house, repairing things, running out to the farm, different forms of sickness attacking each of us, and continuing to fix the house up… these things in themselves have worn us out. Sunday last week we were feeling very discouraged, tired, stressed and overwhelmed.
Monday we had to make our trip out of country to Namibia to renew our visas. Even photos cannot show the full effect of the road, most of the driving was in the ditch just to give you an idea of how bad the “paved” roads are! It took us from 4:30 AM until 8 PM to drive around 700 km and 300 km of that was nice road! The border crossing went quick as we had a local friend come with us (unfortunately he could not come back with us)! By the time we reached our destination, Oshindera Lodge in Oshikati Namibia, we were completely exhausted! We are very thankful for the family who owns the lodge, as they were very kind and generous toward our family. We enjoyed our time spent there and in their home.
Tuesday was spent shopping until we dropped, thankfully the first day Meagan stayed with the boys back at the lodge while Pete, Talitha and I went out to get groceries. The groceries in Namibia (although more pricey than home) are MUCH cheaper than here in Angola, so we stocked up on some things that we cannot get here, and things that are much less expensive. We also purchased our washing machine (that will save about 1 ½ hours a load). Our other more important order of business was renewing our visas; thankfully we were put in contact with a gal from Angola who works in Namibia. She was able to help us with filling out the paperwork and taking it in.
Wednesday, more shopping, and in the afternoon we were able to retrieve our visas and pay out the whopping $650 Namibian dollars (to give you an idea it is 5 Namibian dollars to a Canadian dollar)!!! This is per person and for a 30 day visa! We are praying that the work visa comes through ASAP! So at present we are paying $316 American per month for our visa renewals. Anyway, after shopping we went to the lodge owner’s home (Audrey and Adrianne) for supper and care group. Then it was off to bed to get well rested for the LONG trip home.
Thursday morning we got up, finished packing the truck and headed on the road, we arrived at the Namibian border at 9:30 AM and spent the next 4 hours waiting for paperwork to be filled out by a clearing agent, for which they wanted to charge us $1350 Namibian (remember 5 to 1) for 5 pieces of paper!!! When we said that was outrageous they said it would then cost $1000 Namibian to cancel it! We asked for a price list which they could not produce (as we knew others had never paid that kind of sum) and finally negotiated a $700 Namibian charge for the paper work (which took them 3 hours to fill out… it took me about half an hour the last time we went through the border to fill the same paper work out myself… at a different border)! Then it was time to cross over to the Angolan side and we began to wonder if we would ever get through. It is difficult coming through the border at the best of times, but on your own not knowing the language is a bit daunting. There were several people who came along to give us a hand, as each official would like to give some kind of grieve or look for a hand-out, this is probably the hardest thing to handle when dealing with officials, they almost all seem to be looking for a bribe. The one who took our passports to stamp them with an entrance stamp wanted to refuse us entry saying that we needed to have a letter from the church in Angola (we did have letters that we gave at the Angolan consulate in Namibia so that we could get our visa… just another game), after waiting on the Namibian side in the scorching heat and then waiting for an hour or more on the Angolan side Talitha and I just burst into tears (apparently this is a good thing as the Angolans don’t know what to do with a woman crying)… they stamped our visas and gave them to us and we were on our way to the next stop at the border (customs), of course we had plenty of groceries and a washing machine so were wondering if we would ever get through customs without being charged an outrageous sum if we wouldn’t give a bribe… one guy who had been helping us since 9:30 in the morning said that if we were taken into the gated area we could expect to have the truck impounded and we would be there for at least 7 days! So when they pointed to the gate and had us drive in we were almost ready to drive over to the Namibian side buy our tickets home and say enough! BUT God was gracious, they had a quick look, asked us what was in the big box, we told them a washer and gave them the receipt and they said have a nice day and sent us on our way. So in total at the two borders we spent just over 6 hours (don’t want to hear any complaints about that Canadian to American border!!!). As it was beginning to get dark we made a wise decision to travel as far as a Finish mission station near Chebia that Stirling had taken Pete and his dad to on the way out of Angola last year. Thankfully we were able to find it (as it is kind of in the middle of no where… like most things in Angola) and they very graciously took us in and even fed us… what a huge blessing!
Friday morning we were on our way again over the worst part of the road, stopping just long enough to let the Ritchie’s in Rio de Huila know that we were still alive (as I could not contact anyone to let them know where we were as our cell phone battery was dead)! We stopped for a moment in Lubango to speak with the leadership of the UIEA to request a meeting with them soon concerning the vision and purpose of our call here. Then it was on to Namibe. When we arrived home after our LONG trip we discovered that our power had been out for 4 days, and everything in our fridge and freezer was rotten! What a smell! Generally the power goes off for about 10 to 15 minutes at a time here in Namibe, so we were not prepared for this! However after cleaning everything up we were quite happy to climb into bed and get a good rest after another long day!
Saturday morning we went out to the farm to put all of the things that needed to be frozen or refrigerated into Strauss and Sanette’s fridge and freezer, Strauss was away in Menongue and Sanette had gone into to town to check on us (we had left the girls home so they told her we had gone to the farm), thankfully she had left the boys with their friends at the farm so we were able to get into the house and begin putting things into her appliances.
Sunday morning we went to the early service and then packed up our stuff and went to the beach with Sanette and the boys, a much needed rest after a long week!
Monday about 10 minutes before the power came back on (7 days after it went out) the water pipes broke (they were totally rusted) and now we have no water, but we have light. We feel as though we are being stretched to our full capacity but there always seems to be a little more ability to stretch a little further! Please keep us in your prayers as the adjustments are now becoming more apparent and constant. Well, the power just went back out… so I must save my battery power for who knows how long before it will come back on! Our phone is working again so for those of you who were trying to get in touch you can try again!
Take care and God Bless,
The Knightly family