Goodbye Scooby-doo Van!

Goodbye Scooby-doo Van!

Thatched roofs sat on top of mud-and-sticks frames like toupees, combed to near perfection. Our Toyota van succeeded in taking us far off the paved road back into the distant village of Kinyante IV. But its undercarriage had constantly scraped along ruts and rocks on the road like fingernails on a chalkboard.
“We appreciate the van,” our driver, Joseph, assured us, “but it was built for tarmac roads. I am afraid it won’t last long out here. Do you think Ourganda could afford to trade the van for a Land Cruiser?”

We knew he was right, but mountains of Ugandan shillings and dollar signs welled up in our minds. “I think we’ll have to make this van last as long as we can,” we told him.

The van was beautiful. It had lots of room inside and a roof rack on top. The air conditioner worked like a charm. It was 4-wheel drive and we could cram a ton of medical supplies, folding tables, privacy tent and partition, water filters, and soccer balls inside along with eight people – and even a chicken. But it really was too low.

Joseph kept nagging us to at least consider making a trade. We assured him that we would devote a couple of hours to looking at Land Cruisers when we went back to Kampala to head to the airport.

To make a long story shortWe made the trade. We said goodbye to our beloved van and hello to a Toyota Land Cruiser Prado with low miles, a diesel engine, and a chassis that is built to conquer the world. Purchasing it was an act of faith, but everything on this Ourganda journey so far has been an act of faith. When we finalized the deal, Joseph was smiling so big he could have eaten a banana sideways.

Here is the before and after. Before (left photo): Our team in the van.

After (right photo): Our team preparing to use the Prado for the first time.

Scraping the bottom of the car on the atrocious “roads” that lead to the villages is over. Our Ugandan team is happy, all of us are thankful, and now the work of saving and extending lives will be even more effective.

We are turning pain and suffering into smiles.

We are VERY thankful for your help.

Your friend,

Ron Gladden
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