Adventures with Anthony – Chris Cheek, Long-term Volunteer

By Friday afternoon of each week I typically have mapped out in my mind what I want to write about in my Sunday Update.  This week was no different until Saturday morning arrived. I was up at 5, like my normal morning, coffee by 5:30 and my day was under way.  I had a few things I wanted to complete on my “to do” list but mostly the day was going to be one of play & laughter.

Then about 10 am arrived & Anthony stopped by the toddler home to say hello & to see if I wanted to ride into town with him…and I never turn down an adventure with Anthony.

Turns out it was more than just a trip into town with Anthony. Every Saturday he takes four of our three year-old kids into town, along with an auntie. This week it was Joshua, Jeremiah, Hope and Sarah’s week. For the four of them this was their first trip to town for something other than a doctor’s visit. What an adventure this was going to be…and we were starting with lunch at KFC.

The plan was to be loading the car at 11 and we would be on the road right after…but like I said it was the plan. Just before we started to buckle the kids in Anthony’s phone rings.  Someone was injured on the farm & they needed him to come quickly. Our nurse was gone for the weekend & so was our paramedic. We have our nurse practitioner but she was about 20 minutes away. Anthony is in nursing school & could assess the injury & then we could decide what we needed to do next. So kids buckled in with Gabi (auntie) in the back seat & Anthony driving & me riding up front.

As we are turning the car around Anthony says, “The petrol is very low. Sure hope we can make it to Tri-Cash” (the petrol station). I look over & the warning light is on, the marker is on the “E” and we’ve not left the farm.

We drive over to the dairy because that’s where Anthony received the call from, to get there & find out we needed to go down to the field where the cows were feeding. Turns out some workers were building a feeding station for the cows & one had cut his arm. It was a decent cut but not bad enough to need stitches so Anthony sent him to get it washed out & bandaged.

In getting everyone settled in the car we had forgotten to get plastic bags. Sarah gets car sick, so you always need to be prepared. Next stop was at the farm building to get garbage bags. All the time I’m looking at the big red warning light … petrol is low!!!!  All I could imagine was being out in the middle of the bush with four excited three year-olds, one being car sick & us running out of petrol. Not a fun image.

Once we had the garbage bags we were off on the Saturday adventure.  On the dirt road we decided we would count cars – only saw one, but did see two cows & we crossed the river.

In my mind I had mapped out checkpoints: the dirt road off the farm, the dirt road by the orange groves, the first tarred road, the main road & then Tri-Cash.  As we reach each one I mentally checked it off.   We had made it that far & not given out of petrol until we arrived at Tri-Cash. Not only had we made it to the station, but Sarah had not gotten sick.

Fuel in the car, everyone buckled in again – we had to unbuckle so they could stand up & see the fuel being put in the car. We were off.

We saw busses, red cars, white cars, blue cars, chickens & cows. We saw trucks. We saw a large fish (picture will be on FB today along with the pictures of our journey.)  We saw oranges for sale. All the things a three year old would find exciting & fun.

We were so close to town, one more turn & about 10 minutes ….. Sarah got sick. Ah! We were so close to making it. We pulled over, got her out of the car, cleaned her up & changed her clothes, cleaned the car, all seat belts back on and off we were again, KFC bound!!!

First stop once in KFC was the bathroom. Then we all lined up in the queue to order our food. All four kids were not saying a word, eyes wide open, watching everything happening behind the counter.  We then went over to our table where everyone learned how to drink out of a straw, had catsup for their chips (French Fries) and finger licking good chicken.

The kids talked to the grandfather beside us, even shared a fry or two with him. He tried to sell us his DVD of him singing Gospel songs but we managed to get out without the purchase of a DVD.

Once everyone was finished I went up to order ice cream, where I had a slight communication problem. I stepped up to the register & said I would like to get four ice creams please. I was told, “We are not selling ice cream because it is wet.” And I responded, “It’s ok, we have napkins.” She said, “No, we are not selling it, it is wet.” I said, “I know it is ice cream.” Then I realized she was telling me it was not frozen, the machine was not working. It was liquid.

We made a quick bathroom stop & then went for a walk, the kids taking in everything. There were cars & buses, people walking by, horns blowing, fruit stands, shops and shops with clothes & shoes.

Once we completed our walk around town, next stop…The Riverstone Mall. We rode the escalator, up & down and up & down, followed by the lift (elevator) made another bathroom stop and played with the electronic doors. The fun of watching 4 children telling the doors to open & close, it was magical.

After exploring all the fun things in the mall our next stop, the grocery store where everyone got to push a cart. The kids would load their carts & Anthony, Gabi and I would put all the items back on the shelf.  We checked out at the register & every kid gave the lady money. They discovered the candy bars at the checkout counter. Almost had to buy two candy bars, but being the expert mom that I am was able to get the candy bars before they got them opened.  Each child had something to carry out of the store.

One last command to the doors to open & our mall adventure was over.  We paid for our parking, loaded the car & seat belts buckled. Only a few blocks away the heads started to nod and eyes got heavy. They all drifted off to sleep, first Sarah, then Hope, followed by Jeremiah, but Joshua – he was still going strong. Looking out he window not missing a thing, “Look at the car GoGo. See the chicken, a cow, oh a red car” then a calm quiet came over the car & as I looked in the back seat the 4th one finally gave in & was sound asleep.

In the quiet I started to think back to when my boys were that age and I don’t remember the wonder & excitement that I saw today. Maybe it is because memories have over time faded or maybe it is because those were things that they experienced so regularly that there was never that child awe of an electronic door, an escalator or filling a grocery cart. Maybe it was because as a young mom I just missed it in the simple things of the every day life. Whatever the reason I got a second chance on Saturday to see four little ones experience their first trip to town, a trip seen through the eyes of a three year old.

Oh, and we didn’t make it home without Sarah getting sick one more time. We made it all the way back to Project Canaan & were just getting ready to drive up the last hill to home, when out of her sleep she sat up & got sick.

The journey continues…..

(Pictures will be up on FB from our adventures in town.)

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