Momentary Disaster in Dumela

It’s October. The heat and humidity we had heard about had arrived to Mozambique. The eight mile drive to Dumela included a river crossing, but the river was just patches of water among the dry river bed. We were able to make make it across with no problems. While it was only a few miles it did take forty-five minutes to arrive for the roads were rough to travel.

We began to set up camp in the heat of the day. Around 5:30PM we noticed flashes of lightning in the distance. At 6:30PM we sat down under the lapa (an open area with a thatched roof) to enjoy our first meal together. The wind began to increase and the lightning was now overhead.

I had jokingly said something about a tornado earlier in the day. Sharyn responded that Africa rarely has tornadoes. As the wind increased even more, we all bent over our plates trying to keep the sand out. I looked down at Sharyn and said, “Well, here’s our tornado.” No sooner had the words come out. The rain began to fall and a fierce wind blew through the lapa.

“Get out from the lapa!” William yelled. “It could fall!”

As tables and chairs began to be picked up by the wind, we all raced from under the lapa. I scrambled to the kitchen tent. “Hold it down!” one of the men exclaimed. I grabbed the top of the tent holding it will all my strength and prayed for God to protect to us. Doug was with Mark and a few of the other guys on the other side of the lapa working on holding tents down.

Alicia, Derrick & Nehemiah helping to hold kitchen tent down

Tents collapsed  and blew towards the lapa along with a pastor’s motorbike. Chairs, tables and dishes were scattering everywhere as the wind blew. Part of the lapa blew off. We continued to hold down the kitchen tent.

After about fifteen minutes, the wind finally let up enough for us to survey the damage. What a mess! The tents that had blown into the lapa were able to be set back up but they and their contents were full of water. Tent pegs were blown all over and many bent in different directions.

We were so thankful that our tent withstood the wind probably because we had a vehicle parked behind it. We gathered what we could but decided to wait till morning to rebuild the camp.

Alicia beginning to clean up
Our tent withstood the storm

We awoke to many villagers repairing their thatched roofs or using plastic to cover what had blown away. After a few hours work, the camp was back in place.

Morning repairs. Notice his ladder is just two tall sticks.

Ministry continued as scheduled. We praise God for His continued protection over us and our team!

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