I was sitting at my desk typing away, and I had to stop a minute to remember the proper spelling of a word. It's easy nowadays to just arrow to the left, press the control button and hold the mouse down, to see the spelling or a menu of suggested replacements. You know how you stare into the screen or off into the distance and you are transported? Yes, I can tell you do. Well, this is exactly what happened to me. One minute here and the next ...
It was hot and the sun was just about to set. I could smell the acrid odors given off by the ground from the heat of the day's blazing sun. It was wafted by a breeze as I sat there, huddled in my single captain's seat on the right side of the commercial vehicle. It had no doors and the windows were really only sheets of canvas, to be pulled down against the daytime sun or the nighttime mosquitoes. I had been directed to sit on the right side just past the middle, but still in front of the right rear tires.
This cargo-type, jeepish transport had two front seats, separated by a small space. There was a bench seat directly behind the driver that extended to the left of me, but directly in front of where I sat. I could stretch out my legs since there was nothing to hinder this movement. A smallish bench seat was across to my left, and on it sat a man who stared straight ahead. He was not interested in talking or perhaps he didn't understand English. We were after all, traveling on of one of the driest portions of the Serengeti, just southeast of the desert. Behind me a young woman sat on the bench seat, which stretched across the width of the back of the vehicle, much like a school bus seat. She was holding a sleeping child who seemed to be about a year old, and she appeared to be expecting another in about a month or so. She leaned her weary head against the side panel in order to rest.
I turned and faced forward, wishing for the hundredth time that my husband had not left me in the capable hands of the driver, whose name escapes me now. It was necessary for my husband to make his way to the airport that morning, and I was to follow on a different flight for Spain later that night. There had not been enough room in the caravan for all of the band members, their luggage and instruments, plus me. So here I was biding my time and trying to accept the situation. I only speak English and the people around me only spoke in their native tongue. I exhaled a heavy sigh and waited for the driver and co-driver to arrive. The air was stifling and even though the sun had set by this time, it was airless. I wished for some rain to make my time more bearable.
A big hot drop splashed against my arm and I had my wish. It was raining! At the same instant I looked into the sky to see a blaze of lightening moving in a spidery trail. A bolt of it touched down about a quarter mile away striking a lone tree in the distance. The unsuspecting tree hadn't a chance and it burst into flames.
We really needed to get going. By this time I was feeling closed in and a little panicked. Electrical storms are scary enough when one is indoors, and we didn't have doors or windows. I reached out to pull the canvas flaps just as the drivers jumped in, revved the engine and the downpour began.
To be continued ...