B.F – Last Day
Well, this morning we woke early, had a cup of coffee and where bustin’ through the bush again by 6:30 AM, in hopes of the “charge of a lifetime.” The sunrise was gorgeous and we were taken up to a vantage point that really presented the African reserve with splendor. The guide we had was about to freeze to death…he even had a winter coat with the hood all wrapped around his head! It was very comfortable to me and the best way I could describe the temperature riding atop our vehicle can only be understood by a few people…If you’ve every been in a bass boat in mid-April before sunrise on your way to a grass bed to sling a Booyah 3/8 oz. with a chartruese trailer wearing only short sleeves, then you know how I was feeling temperature-wise (as well as the spirit of anticipation and thrill for not knowing what might be ahead!) Here’s a look from a knoll we went up on…
And then it happened! We came across a herd of elephants with several young, which is the best way to get some “interest” from the big females! (They are the only ones which seem to be affected by our presence. The big males they say, don’t seem to care.) I was told that when a parade of elephants is feeding or traveling in a general direction, they are not going to turn and run the other way when they see a vehicle or predator, which was evidenced several times yesterday and today. Jim and I were riding atop of the vehicle, hanging onto ropes as we bounced over the terrain, desperately wanting to film the next Youtube viral sensation, when we saw the herd. After a moment or two, we determined they were definitely headed our way! The African guide we drew, much to my chagrin, was not the adventurous type. As soon as he recognized their direction of travel, he wanted us to move along. Fortunately, our driver (Bro. Keith Shumaker) is a hunter and one who lives for the thrill as much as I do…and although the guide was telling him things in a fast and high paced vernacular (he never once asked for us to excuse his “French”…of course he was speaking in French), Bro. Keith didn’t always respond as quick as the guide wanted him to. You can hear me on our video say something like, “Where are you going brother, let’s get a show!” Bro. Keith yelled up that the guide was scared and wanted us to get out of there. We did manage to get her busting through a tree or two with her “trumpet” blowing, but NOTHING like we could have…man, it could have been THE video of a lifetime and may have scored us a viewing on the TV hit show, “I Shouldn’t Be Alive.” Well, we did get a thrill, and the elephant park was definitely worth the extra couple of days we spent in Africa!
We left the park around lunch and headed back to the Shumaker home to pack and go to the airport. Just outside the park, Bro. Shumaker honored my request of driving in Burkina Faso as he let me dodge donkeys, goats and of course bikes and motos for about twenty minutes. So far, I’ve driven on every continent that I’ve been on (which is only three) and in most countries I visited. I know it’s not that big a deal, but hey, one day it might be quite a bit if the Lord allows me on a lot more mission trips.
After saying our goodbyes, Bro. Keith took us to the airport where we left B.F around 6:30 PM local time, stopped in Niamey, Niger for about an hour (we had some delay due to civil unrest in the country), then arrived in Paris at 6 AM. We were set for a six hour layover and could have toured the city a bit, however, we were really tired and tried to get seats on an earlier flight, to no avail. We finally left Paris around 1:40 PM local time (7:40AM EST) and after a long day of flying, arrived in Atlanta at 6:30 PM EST (12:30 AM Paris time.) Needless to say, I’m still not sure which timezone I’m in at the present(mentally speaking). We were tired but very grateful to see our wives and children! We praise the Lord for a very safe and productive trip to Burkina Faso, Africa. Lord willing, I will return and visit the work and the national pastors which we were able to have a small part in their training. I’ll summarize my thoughts and comments in my last B.F trip update post.