Hey, friends! We’re just TWO DAYS out from the release of my second book, Different Stars! Thought I’d give you a sneak peek of Sara’s first full day on the mission field in Namibia. Enjoy…
I was still smiling a few hours later, thinking on my conversation with these new friends. The Bothas. “Very Afrikaans last name,” Ana Marie had said to me, then with lowered voice, “but Riaan has an English mother, you know. Not that I hold it against him, of course.” I had tried to comment on this, but as she had for most of our walk back towards the sea, she went on with another topic, pointing things out to me and arranging to meet me later, giving me a huge hug as we said goodbye. What a warm welcome, so unlike Daniel…
… who even now, as I sat on the seawall, approached me with an irritated look on his face.
“Okay,” he said without so much as a hello. “I have your passport, your visa, a copy of your lease, your receipt of deposit for the water company, the electric company, and internet provider, and…” with a flourish, “… your new phone.”
“Thank you,” I said, taking it from him and clicking through the contacts. “Daniel Boyd. Daniel Boyd. Daniel Boyd.” I looked up at him. “Why are you in here three times?”
“Cell number, office in Windhoek, and the mission house in Oshakati. None of the other houses have phone service.” He looked at me appraisingly. “What have you gotten done?”
“Well,” I said, “I picked up my keys and bought a few groceries.”
He looked at me, tilting his head to the side.
“Is that it?”
“Oh, and I switched my money over to rand.”
“They’re dollars. Namibian dollars.”
“Oh, no, they’re rand, too. My friend, Riaan, told me.”
His brow furrowed. “Riaan?”
I regarded him with just a little bit of the same pompous attitude he was always giving me. “Yeah, just one of those Afrikaner men you said would be lined up around the block to help out poor, stupid Sara, you know. I’m even meeting him for dinner.”
“Wait a minute,” he began. “First of all, I never said you were stupid, and –“
“You implied it, though, but I’m getting by just fine after all, huh?”
He was getting irritated with me. More so than usual. “And second of all, you don’t need to be meeting up with random men and –“
“I’m meeting up with Riaan and his WIFE, Daniel.”
“How do you already have dinner plans and friends after only three hours on your own?”
“Most people like me, you know,” I huffed at him. “I’m a really likeable person!”
“Yes, I can tell with the way you’re screeching at me like that,” he frowned at me.
I looked at him thoughtfully. “I think we’ve gotten off on the wrong foot, you and me.”
He didn’t say anything to me for a moment. “And?”
“And,” I said, irritated, “it might be nice if we were on better speaking terms since, you know, you’re the only other person on this ridiculous ‘team’ AND since your number is the only one in my phone, right?” I rummaged around in my backpack, pulling out a slip of paper. “Shame, man,” I said, adding a new contact from the slip of paper Ana Marie had given me, “you’re not the only one now. B-O-T-H-A. There you go.” I switched off the phone and looked at him.
“Shame, man?,” he repeated, staring at me dubiously.
“It’s growing on me, the way they talk,” I said, allowing myself a smile.
He shook his head at me. “Okay, well, whatever. It sure seems like you’re going to be… well, okay, I guess.”
“Thank you for that vote of confidence.”
“I need to get back to Windhoek this afternoon… so…”
“So… see you.” I waved at him. I had very nearly had enough of him and his pointed glares, and –
He handed me his keys. I looked at them, confused, and chanced a glance back up at him. “What are these for?”
“The truck,” he said, already irritated with me. Again.
“Aren’t you going to need these?”
“I’m leaving the truck with you,” he said. “I can hitch a ride back to Windhoek. Which, by the way, is something you should never do. And you’ll have no need to since you’ll have something to drive yourself now, obviously.”
“You’re leaving me… your truck?,” I asked, surprised by his generosity, and –
“Mission board rules for the country. All personnel are required to have vehicles. There are two more back at the mission house.”
Ahh. So much for generosity.
“Wait a minute… is it… an automatic?”
My heart dropped just a tiny bit. “Oh, Daniel. I…”
“Oh, geez,” he muttered, running his hand over his face. “Please tell me you can drive a standard.”
I shook my head pitifully, feeling more inept than I had ever felt before… which was really saying something in this strange new place.
“Fine,” Daniel nearly shouted. “Guess we’ll need to have a driving lesson before I head back to Windhoek then, huh?”
“And you’re going to be such a patient teacher,” I murmured. “I can already tell.”
Two hours later, Daniel and I were barely speaking to one another. Oh, we had said plenty all over Swakopmund, as the truck died on me nearly every time I hit the brakes. Daniel couldn’t fathom, as he explained in exhaustive detail, how a woman could have a college degree and appear to have her wits about her and still just not gethow this relatively simple task of driving was supposed to work. I was very nearly ready to push him right out of the truck when he declared that he was satisfied enough by my skills and told me to drop him off at the edge of town.
“That was fun,” he said sarcastically, jumping out and grabbing his stuff.
“Oh, well, you’re a funguy,” I said through clenched teeth.
He shut the door behind him and leaned on the windowsill, looking at me thoughtfully for a moment.
“What?,” I spat out at him.
“Are you going to be okay here? By yourself?”
“I’ll be just fine,” I said, giving him a tight, insincere smile.
“Call me when you get ready to run away screaming, okay?” He allowed himself a small grin, no doubt anticipating this day already, just so he could tell the mission board that he told them so.
Well, I’d show him. As he strolled away, I started the truck, intent on peeling out and leaving him in my dust, only to have it die on me as soon as I stepped off the clutch.
“Ugggghhh,” I groaned, even as Daniel turned back around, shook his head at me, and kept on walking.
Welcome home, Sara.
Want to read more? Psst… it’s already available on Kindle! Go get your copy right here. You’re welcome!
Happy reading, friends!