Saturday, March 17, 2007


One night, our youngest daughter was experiencing croup. A bad case of croup. She was about 2 at the time. We were in the jungle and no doctor or hospital was available, we couldn't even call for an emergency flight to come get us. The Cessnas cant land at night on a dark airstrip. So, we did all we could. We set up a pop up tent and I boiled kettles and kettles of water while she and her dad laid inside the Sauna environment, hoping to loosen the phlegm which was blocking her breathing. Finally, around 3 a.m. She was able to get rid of the phlegm and promptly fell into a deep sleep.

My husband and myself prepared to get some sleep as well. A few minutes after we had laid down, just on the verge of that wonderful sleep...we began to hear something. Rustling!
We went out of our room in time to see our son (10 years old or so) run by on his way outside! The 2 older girls were right behind him!
We could hear Indians beginning to run past our house as well, calling out...something!

So we grabbed the little one and ran out as well. You see, children always learn a foriegn language faster than their parents and Josh had understood the screams of the Indians.

He heard them yelling, "FIRE! THE ROOF IS ON FIRE!", and as he rolled over and looked out his window, he saw the flames VERY close to our roof. He thought OUR roof was on fire.

We had taught the children that if our palm roof EVER caught on fire..Get out FAST!! Dry leaves go up in flame very quickly and there is no time to grab anything. So, he took us at our word, and with only a yell over his shoulder to his siblings, he was out the door.

Once outside we realized the fire was at Tito and Dorotea's house, about 100 meters or so away.

My husband began to run towards the jungle path that led to our water pump. Their house was lost, but we hoped to be able to save the houses near it, including our own by wetting the roofs.

So Clint runs out, barefoot, into the dark jungle. The indian trails are narrow and only wide enough to walk on in single file. So staying on the trail in the dark was not easy. The pump was about 500 meters or so down to the river. There was no moon light, and the jungle at night can be scary. I ran in and grabbed a flash light and tossed it to him.

In the mean time, I climbed up our water tower to unhook the flexible pipe we used to fill the barrels we used as a water storage tank.

Once down, my son and I began to pull the 2 inch hose towards the fire. A two inch hose full of water is HEAVY! We were pulling and had gotten to the edge of a thick piece of jungle we needed to get through to reach the fire. My young son's voice was a little frightened as he asked, "Mommy, are we going to walk through there without a light?!"

I answered in my own frightened voice, "I guess we have to." At that same moment, something SWOOSHED by us and we felt the hose pulled from our hands!

All this time, my husband is experiencing his own adventure! The flashlight I had tossed him...well, the batteries were dead! So he is running through the jungle in the pitch black! Now, unless you have been in the jungle on a moonless night, under the canopy of the forest without a light, you have NO idea how DARK it can get!
aAs he runs, he is praying aloud, "Please God! No snakes!"
Later he says he wished he had prayed "No thorns". I had to pull 13 thorns, some up to an inch long out of his feet after he got back. But he did make it to the pump house and he did get the pump started.

Josh and I felt the hose taken from us. It was so dark we couldn't see who ,or what! had ran by until one of the Indians said, "We got it now".
Whew! I was glad to not have to go through that dark jungle!

After fighting the fire for several hours, the village was able to save all but the one house.

The thing I remember most was poor Dorotea! She was crying, "My new bucket! I lost my new bucket!"
That was her prized possession! A plastic bucket.

I ask you, if you had a fire, would you be crying over a bucket? That kind of puts it in perspective for me! We are so weathy!

Lets remember to be grateful! God has blessed us with so much in our country, we don't even comprehend how wealthy we are. So next time you (or I) feel like whining about not having something, think of Dorotea and her bucket.

(This is a typical Indian house)


RoseMary said...

Hi Rita, nice to meet you! Thanks so much for coming by my blog. What a great story. Minus the thorns, of course! Honestly, I'd rather step on thorns than snakes anyday. The bucket surely does put all we have and take for granted into perspective! God has blessed us so much!

eph2810 said...

You are right. We forget how much we truly have in our lives. Thank you for the reminder :)

Blessings to you and yours.

Jackie said...

I don't think I will ever forget that night! What an adventure. It was hard falling to sleep afterwards, especialy when thinking of Dorotea who had just lost everything.

Kim said...

I could picture your story in my mind as I read it. Even living in Florida, and this is defenitely not the jungle, we worry when we walk the dogs at night. We don't have alot of lights. Both of the girls have had snakes fall on them from out of the trees while walking outside. I have become very proficient with a hoe or shovel.

serendip said...

What a beautifully told story. Thank you for sharing these precious stories with your readers. I will never forget this one. It's a blessing to have found your blog.

Pam said...

To quote our friend Ashley: "You should have issued a *KLEENEX* warning!" The bucket part of this story knocked me down a few notches. Even though I've heard you tell these stories before, they are heart wrenching and tender still.

Ginger said...

Another incredible story and reminder of God's goodness and our rich blessings here in the states. You amaze me!

Mountain Mama said...

You are so brave. The very idea that snakes would possibly be under my feet makes me cringe!
Reading about Dorotea and her lost bucket is heart wrenching.
I wish I could send her some.