The task today was simple: pick up John and Eta at the Total filling station at 8:15 in the morning and then head down to Kafue (a town 30 minutes south of Lusaka) to teach C.R.O.S.S. lessons 11-13 to a group of young people at a local church there.
On our way to pick up John and Eta, we noticed that there was a group of security guards on the southbound lanes of Kafue Road starting to block traffic. We assumed that someone had hit a pedestrian and the group of security guards were trying to figure it all out. We hoped the small mob would dissipate soon, since we needed to come through this same area on our way to Kafue.
After we picked John and Eta up and were on our way, we saw a parade coming toward us, and traffic was slowing down. (By the way, a parade here is a group of people – Catholic churches, high schools, pre-schools, disability groups, church building projects, etc. – who walk down the middle of busy highways into oncoming traffic and hold signs and buckets out to collect money for their cause…with police escort, though, which makes it all somehow more safe). But even after we passed the Catholic parade, we realized that all the southbound traffic was hopping the curb, driving into and over the median, and then going into the northbound lanes to go south into oncoming traffic! We thought, at first, that everyones’ Saturday morning patience was wearing thin from parades and car accidents. But then, as we got closer, we quickly saw the reason for all of the median-hopping traffic. The group of security guards that we saw earlier was now a large mob. They were drinking beer, throwing large rocks and concrete blocks onto the road, blocking the road with their security vehicle, and jumping up and down on people’s cars who were passing by. Once we saw all of that, we decided to join in and jump the median as well. Thankfully, there was a semi next to us, who was also jumping the median, and we motioned for him to go forward and then used him as a shield to bypass the rioting security guards.
There were two things that we found really disturbing about this whole situation. The police who were escorting the parade of Catholics did NOTHING about the rioting that was happing fifty yards away from them. And the people that are suppose to keep Lusaka safe from theft and property damage where the ones causing the riot and inflicting property damage. (Everyone here hires security guards, because the government Police force is rather small for the size of the city and has few vehicles or resources). We later found out that the security guards were rioting for better pay and more vehicles. Oh, that make sense, since Saturday morning motorists can really help with that!
If that wasn’t enough excitement for our morning, when we got to Kafue, we realized that everyone at the church had forgotten that we were meeting for C.R.O.S.S. So after waiting an hour and a half and making phone calls, we decided to return to Lusaka. But on the way home, I got a speeding ticket for supposedly going 91 kph in a supposedly 80 kph zone. However, there was no way that actually was the case, because the police were just pulling multiple cars at the same time over (as usual) and fining them. Then, after dropping John and Eta off, we got to follow a drunk driver for a while as he almost hit people on one side of the road and oncoming traffic on the other side.
All that to say, we were very thankful to the Lord for keeping us safe and giving us grace, which he did in all of these situations with abundance. We also took comfort in the verse that John read down in Kafue to those who had gathered, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28) ALL things work together for good – even riots, everyone forgetting about C.R.O.S.S., speeding tickets and drunk drivers.