Thursday, September 29, 2011

A FANtastic trip...a FANtasy trip...???

Yesterday our truck was in the garage. The timing belt light on the dash had been on for a week, so in line with the truck manual's advice, we took it in to have the old belt removed and a new one put on. Late in the afternoon, Gary picked up the truck, paid the bill and drove home (our city home). Mission Accomplished.

Not so quick...

Early this morning we packed the truck and headed for Makalondi. I had to get out to the clinic by 9:30 and was bringing a large stock of meds with me. As we were driving through town, I said to Gary, "You know, I hear a funny tat-tat noise from our you hear it?" Well, he didn't. But just outside the city, he stopped and looked under the hood just to be sure...and he didn't see anything suspicious. It was a smooth ride out (and we even had a special time reading and discussing the insights God showed us from the first 10 verses in Luke chapter 7).

We arrived in Makalondi, unloaded and I threw my medical bag and 2 bottles of water in the truck and took off. Now I first noticed the squealing sound with a louder tat-tat noise about 6 or 7 kms. into the bush. I stopped the truck and called Gary's cell phone. No answer. I called Abdou's cell (our worker). No answer. I called Beki, and she did answer and agreed to go tell Gary I was calling him. Finally connected, I put my cell phone up to the motor, reaching under the wheel well. Gary: "Ohhh, that does not sound good. You need to come home and drive slowly. If it gets worse, just stop."

As I turned the truck around, I started praying...praying that God would protect our engine from expensive damage. I got about 1 km. distance when a huge banging began! I immediately shut the truck off and just knew I had ruined the engine! I called Gary and he said he would borrow Beki's motorcycle and come to me.

While waiting for him, several Gourma men stopped, offering to help. Looking at the engine we could see some broken pieces of cowling and stray nuts below. I told them not to touch anything until Gary could see for himself.

Gary arrived and accessed the situation. When the mechanics had worked on our truck at the garage and put the fan back on, they hadn't tightened up the bolts holding the fan to the engine! Out of 4 bolts, 2 had fallen off, and 1 was hanging on barely. the fan was literally flopping around and had cut up the cowling (sp?) and had started hitting the radiator.

I was so impressed, once again, at the way God watches out for us! Although the problem could have been disastrous to our truck, the fan was still on, the blades were not broken, and there wasn't even a hole in the radiator!! God had certainly protected our engine, no doubt about it!

We called the garage; Gary had to remove the fan; we drove home with several stops along the way to allow the engine to cool down; and I called the clinic to tell them that I wouldn't make it today. The garage sent a man out on a taxi bus to Makalondi and this afternoon, he worked on the truck, fixing most of the problems. The rest will be taken care of when we get back to Niamey.

Tonight I'm thanking the Lord for the safe trip out to Makalondi on the highway, for the problem happening "close" to home, and for preventing serious damage to our truck! A whole lot to be thankful for! And in the middle, I met some really nice Gourma men and shared some good conversation...

You never know what a day will bring... and it is energizing to see God's handiwork in the events of that day!

The bolts which had fallen off...