African Driving Lessons

This week I have resumed my driving lessons, which began several months ago in the Toyota in the background of the photo. My very capable driving instructor is Marques, an African who has long been employed by the organization I work with, and taught my hosts’ children to drive. Since he doesn’t speak English, driving lessons are an ideal opportunity for me to utilize my new language skills.

In February, Marques introduced me to the Toyota and took me driving in it around our property. I become familiar with sitting in the driver’s seat on the right side of the car, operating the manual transmission with my left hand, and navigating in reverse based only on the view from the side mirrors. Shortly thereafter, the Toyota encountered mechanical problems and Marques and I became more busy with other projects, so driving lessons were put on hold.

I am now back to driving, under Marques’ tutelage, this time in the Land Rover pictured in the front of the photo. After practicing in our field on one day, we ventured out on the road the next day. It was both fun and scary at the same time! Thankfully the transmission was forgiving, and the motor didn’t die when I failed to shift into the correct gear. We took the highway a short way into the countryside, then turned around and came back home.

For my last driving lesson of the week week, we went into town, which was more difficult. Traffic patterns here are very fluid, requiring constant vigilance to avoid hitting the cars and pedestrians that enter my path. The lack of power steering and power braking made this extra challenging, and the new experience of driving on the left side of the road didn’t help. Plus I still have much to learn regarding local traffic signs, rules, and customs. Thankfully, Marques is a skilled driving coach; he gave clear instructions and even shifted gears for me several times when I was overwhelmed and fumbled. I breathed a sigh of relief when we arrived safely back home.

Please pray for God’s blessing and protection upon my driving efforts: that I will learn well, drive well, and avoid any accidents. Thank you!

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