Have you ever been on a road trip that took 10 hours to go 410 kilometers (~250 miles)? That was my day yesterday. We got in a van at 10:30, and spent the rest of the day bumping along rough roads with the windows open, going around sharp switchback turns through the hills, and passing large trucks that take their half out of the middle and honk obnoxiously all the time. Quite the adventure. Don’t worry though; we had an excellent driver who navigated the tricky roads here with ease. Transportation takes so long here for a few reasons. First, the roads are in terrible condition. Second, the terrain is difficult – mountain switchbacks, narrow roads between cliffs and rivers, gravel/dirt in some places on main highways, etc. And third, there are no real traffic rules, lanes or speed limits, so much of the time is spent braking behind large trucks, and then speeding around them before oncoming traffic arrives.
This is a beautiful country, even through the smog and humidity. The landscape is full of cliffs, rivers, suspension bridges, forests, small villages, and busy towns. We stopped a few times to visit the ministry’s Transit Monitoring stations, where the staff interview and intercept girls who are being trafficked into India. It was so sweet to hear that more than 30 girls have been saved from crossing the border to a horrific future at the stations over the past 9 months. It was beautiful to pray with and for these courageous staff who diligently man the stations 6 days a week for up to 12 hours a day.
This morning (Tuesday) we visited one of the main stations on the border and got to hear more stories of girls who have been rescued! We went to one of the shelters and met a girl who was intercepted, and has been at the shelter for 21 days. Most girls stay 3-5 days, but this young woman has experienced severe trauma, and has nowhere to go, so the staff are caring for her until she is more stable. On our way back to the hotel to go see the border, our van bottomed out. We heard a terrible scraping sound, and turned around to see a river of oil flowing out from under the car. Not good. But also not the worst…we were told as we walked back to the hotel that Birgunj (the town we were in) is known for auto parts, so if there was ever a “good” place to break down, this was it! Praise the Lord.
Becuase our van was out of comission, we decided to get to the border anyway, using another mode of transportation: the horse and buggy. Not even kidding. It was fabulous. They are like taxis in the town, and it worked wonderfully. I really enjoyed the ride and would take it again over a rickshaw if I could. I wish I could post a picture on here, but the internet at this place is so slow I’m pretty sure it would take until pigs begin flying to upload. We are having a great time though, and it has been so encouraging to hear stories of women being rescued from slavery and to see the work I am hoping to join!
Tomorrow morning (Wednesday) we are riding Elephants! I’ll be back to let you know how that goes, and hopefully the internet will be better and I can include some pictures.