(printed in the Northern Boone County Bull's Eye, Vol. 1, No. 18, Wednesday Feb. 23, '05))
I realize this is The View from the Front Porch column. Usually it’s a “step back from the fast pace of life” kind of column. But our family temporarily had a different front porch about four years ago, and I thought perhaps you’d enjoy a view from that porch occasionally.
It literally had a view of the Himalayas...talk about peaceful. But it was in India – so we sometimes moved from peaceful right on into adventure.
It was 2001, and our entire family (seven of us total at the time) was in Mussoorie, India, working with Engineering Ministries, International (EMI). Now just being in India was plenty of adventure for me – a woman who had never even flown in an airplane until two months before we left for India.
Nate had committed to overseeing EMI’s India office for a nine week period. He had a group of six interns that he was responsible for overseeing their design work for various ministry projects that EMI had going on throughout the country. Twice, this required him to leave Mussoorie for days at a time to go do some surveying at a job site. Thus began an adventure within the adventure...
Nate had been down to Hyderabad (about 2 days travel distance from Mussoorie) with two of the interns, Tim and Shawn, for several days. They were returning, and had made it as far as Delhi by train without incident. When they arrived in Delhi, they discovered the train they wanted would not be leaving for several hours. Their brilliant minds deduced that hiring a taxi to take them to Mussoorie (maybe an 8-10 hour drive from Delhi, although only a couple hundred miles away) would be quicker than waiting all day to catch a train and then riding it for several hours. They had the only EMI cell phone along with them, so they called to let us know their plan, and to say they should arrive sometime before midnight.
The next time we heard from them was that evening. It seems their taxi driver was driving insanely. They claimed he was fine for the first couple of hours, but after they made a quick pit stop, he had been getting worse and worse. He spoke little English anyway, but he was even more unintelligible now, with very slurred and slow speech. He would keep driving slower and slower, weaving all over the road and driving on the wrong side of the road (which is the right side over there.) At one point he had stopped in the middle of the road and put it in reverse for awhile. Nate, Tim and Shawn were wondering if when they made that pit stop, someone “slipped” the taxi driver some drugs, in order to make him wreck, so they could follow up on the crash scene and plunder the “westerners” – not an unheard of occurrence over there. They were calling to ask us to pray, and to see if we had any last words of advice before they resorted to the desperate measure of taxi hi-jacking. Words of advice on hi-jacking a taxi? Sorry, we were all rather inexperienced in such matters. But the adventure will have to continue next week...