The news about our bridge materials, which had been heading south and picking up speed for quite a while, made a sudden U-turn today. Miraculously, Bridging the Gap Africa tracked down all but a few hundred dollars’ worth of the materials, crammed them into a four-by-four, and rolled into Dareda Kati just before dinnertime.
Marianne and I were more concerned about getting Bridging the Gap’s engineers, Nate Bloss and Sylvester Ouko, settled—and advising them on transportation of the materials over some muddy ground to the construction site—than about getting the details of the convoluted rescue story straight. But it seems that one of the several men involved in planning the theft suffered an attack of conscience and pointed Nate and Sylvester to where the materials had been hidden.
If the materials that are still missing cannot be found, then Bridging the Gap’s founder, Harmon Parker, will replace them and deliver them here in a few days. Nate and Sylvester assure us, however, that the construction can begin with what is already on hand.
While the materials were missing, the Karimu volunteers had to fight to keep their spirits up. We told ourselves that what mattered was that the village would get its bridge eventually; our direct involvement in building it was unimportant, we would say.
But I’m not sure how many of us were fully satisfied with this story. Now we will have a different tale to tell, and one that won’t require the force-feeding of such a large mouthful of bitter self-renunciation.