Rumble: Murphy the amateur

Another story Enrico sent me:

Everybody knows Murphy’s laws, but nobody imagines how true they are until they get to South Sudan. If something can go wrong, it will go wrong, and in the most unlikely way and with the worst consequences. Finally, your Rest & Recuperation break has arrived, you can go back home to see your family. You get into the car and after a few moments of difficulty you manager to insert the key, the engine is rolling, but the car is not moving. Gee, a flat tyre. You get the spare tyre, flat as well! You control your murderous instincts and get into the second vehicle. It is still raining, the road is very muddy and slippery and the car starts sliding. Your hopes are not over yet, you try the 4-wheel drive, but you need to get socked to lock the wheels. It doesn’t work, but you proceed, the worst that can happen is that you end up in a ditch. You don’t give up, you really want to get out of that place. You keep driving at 10 mph.

You finally see the airstrip, you get out of the car and wait. The plane is late, you keep swearing and listening to the HF radio hoping for some good news. The airstrip is wet but it looks land-able to you, or maybe you are just being optimistic. You wait, until the croaking noise of the HF radio says that the plane is coming. You look up in the sky and start believing again that a God exists. After a couple of unsuccessful attempts the plane goes back. You are depressed, exhausted, you sit down on the empty fuel barrel and you think of quitting this job once and for all. Then you think of the people you are helping…and your mortgage.

All of a sudden, you have brilliant idea. There’s a road that can take you to the next airstrip. If the weather is not very unfavourable you can still make it, it’s only 5 hours’ driving. The road though is level 4 and requires a military escort, but not all is lost. It’s Friday, and there’s an organised convoy that you can follow. You keep driving, and keep wondering whether you are still sane to travel in those weather conditions on a level-4 road, but you keep driving. After two more hours’ driving you finally reach the meeting point. The convoy should be there by noon. You wait, the convoy is not there, but you are still hopeful. Three hours later you are told that the convoy has been cancelled, the next one will be on Monday! You drive back to your tent, miserable, hoping for a better day.

Picture courtesy Enrico Pausilli


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