Alaska Team 2007 travel blog

WOW is about the best word that could describe our adventure today! We began with an early breakfast of peanut-butter toast, fruit, and coffee around 5:00am. Then we loaded TEN PEOPLE into one four-wheel-drive truck (five inside, five outside), and headed to a remote refugee camp to deliver boxes of medicine to a clinic. The drive was absolutely unbelieveable! After one hour of pavement, we switched to rugged dirt roads through dense jungle, and made SIXTEEN river crossings with the vehicle along the way! Paw Lu Lu refers to it as the 'washing-machine road', and we quickly learned why with all of the rocks, dips, and turns! Most of the time we could see the continuation of the road on the other side of the river, but occassionally our experienced driver, PC, would meander through the middle of the river and around the big rocks to locate the road continuing on the opposite side. The water was usually about half-way up the tires in depth, with an occasional deeper hole.

We paused for a few rest stops along the way, and had to unfold ourselves from our crunched sitting position each time. At one stop, we observed a ingenious contraption in the middle of the river. It was built to use the water-current to turn a series of wheels in order to pound rice in a heavy bowl. This is usually a long and tedious task performed by hand or foot pedal. As we continued our drive we observed the sounds of birds, and saw colorful butterflies.

After a few more rest stops along the way, we finally arrived at the clinic around 11:00am, and unfolded ourselves from the truck. We enjoyed a rest and a lunch of hot noodles. Then Paw Lu Lu took us to visit the nearby Christian school. We crossed a rather scary bamboo bridge to reach the other side of the river, and then proceeded to interrupt the school-day as were visited each room and teacher.

Upon our return to the clinic, we had the opportunity to swim and wade in the river. The cool water felt SO GOOD on such a hot day! We began our return drive around 4:00pm, and soon discovered a whole NEW adventure! At about 6:00pm, it began to grow dark, and we traveled the remaining three hours through the dense jungle and river crossings in pitch dark guided by our headlights and experienced driver, PC. It was quite an experience! The sounds of a million croaking frogs replaced the birds we had heard during the daylight.

We all arrived back at the guest-house safe and sound (though very tired), and very amazed at today's adventure! Then we all slept very soundly.

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