Dangerous Crossing

IMG_1007The rains this year have made an already dangerous situation much more treacherous. There is a place on the road into Olbalbal that crosses a small ravine that becomes a torrent during the wet season. The crossing has been made by heaping soil and rock into the ravine to make a kind of land bridge across. When a major rainfall takes place high in the mountains above us, the ravine is filled with rushing water many feet deep. There is nowhere for the water to pass except over the top of the roadbed. Since the first big rain some weeks ago, every big rain eats a little more of the edge of the road. Now it has become quite narrow and every time I cross, I hold my breath. The tires are just inches from the edge, threatening to topple the car into the ravine. Since the ravine is deep, widening the road by hand would be a huge job. When the Ngorongoro Conservation people get around to it, they will come with a big machine to add more rock and earth to on side widening the road. It is a game of Russian roulette to see what will happen first, Ngorongoro Conservation will fix the road or it will become absolutely impassable. Given past experience, I am not optimistic that Ngorongoro Conservation will come soon.

We are at the bottom of Ngorongoro Mountain, just on the edge of the plains that comprise the Serengeti National park. Rain in the mountains above us mean flooding here at Olbalbal. This ha s the good effect of giving us a small lake of water during the rains and well into the dry season. This insures that there is seldom a water problem for the herds of cattle, sheep and goats of Olbalbal. At the same time the rains in the mountains threaten the life of our precious land cruiser that we depend on to do our work.

Recently a big truck bringing government corn to sell and good prices to the people of Olbalbal fell into the ravine. Much of the corn was lost and it was a herculean task to dig a path for the big truck to be pulled out of the deep gully by another big truck. It took days for a large number of people to make a path up the sloping side of the ravine to get the lorry out. I am hoping that this incident will encourage the Ngorongoro Conservation to undertake an early rescue operation. If not, once the road loses another inch or two of width, I will no longer attempt to cross. We will just stay here at the mission. In a medical emergency there is always the possibility of calling Pat Patten to come and evacuate me by airplane.

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