Then, just when I thought I would be sleeping under some tree for the night, He sent me…
Four English speaking women, arranged in a beautiful constellation walking towards me. They were guiding stars to my way home.
I quickly approached them as if they were the only hint of light on the island, which at that moment it felt like they were. I told them that I was trying to find the dala dala station, and they kindly directed me to where it was. Just before I was about to leave, one of the girls asked if I knew the name of my stop. Well, I didn’t. I knew the name of the dala dala I needed, Fuoni, but that’s about it. She warned me that it would be extremely difficult to notice the stop in the dark; everything looks the same at night. But noticing my stop was the least of my worries, right then I just needed to find the dala dalas.
I thanked the girls and went on my way.
As I walked to the dala dala station cat-calls fired at me like gun-shots, each one burrowing deep under my skin. I’m not sure how to articulate how scary it is to be alone and female walking in the middle of the night, especially when you don’t know the language. Everything within me wanted to run full-speed ahead to the station, but I walked slowly and bowed my head in prayer.
After a few petrifying minutes, I made it to the dala dala stop. However, to my demise, there were no dala dalas out. Not one. I continued to walk up the street thinking that maybe there would be one tucked away somewhere. I found nothing but an open food cart. I walked over to the woman purchasing food and asked, in my broken Swahili, for help. Turns out one of the guys knew English! He directed me to the dala dala stop, which is nice, but it was the one I just came from… the one with no dala dalas. I thanked him and started walking back there anyway.
I began walking and noticed two lights in the distance, with every step it became evident that I was walking toward a dala dala! But it wasn’t just any dala dala…
I squinted until I saw it, shining in white-chipped paint: FUONI.
It was the dala dala I specifically needed.
A miracle! I hopped on and tried to look as local as I could, not saying a word. They would certainly spot me out if I opened my mouth. To no surprise, I was the only woman on board, probably the only woman outside this late. As soon as we took off I remembered the girl’s warning to me. I prayed for “divine-eyes” to see my stop, and meant it.
Every shop, every tree looked identical to the last. But the Father did answer my prayer and I recognized my stop. I pulled the duck tape off of my mouth, tapped the man in front of me, and yelled “hapa! hapa!” (here, here).
The adventure, if you want to call it that, didn’t end when I got off the dala dala. I still had a ways to walk… in the dark.
To keep this post a little short, I’ll just let you know that I literally prayed in the Spirit all of the way to the house, and kicked myself for not memorizing enough of Psalm 91.
That night I really had to trust the Lord and his promise that he would protect me. Actually, I learned a lot about trust in Zanzibar.
Unfortunately, trust has been hard being back in the States. It’s different here: I have money, language ability, street lights. It’s tempting not to put trust back in myself, especially when it comes to making decisions for the future.
Sometimes I feel like I’m still alone, in the dark, searching for that dala dala.
But I know what the Lord starts He is faithful to finish. He’s not done building trust between us. And every time I trust Him with something new I believe the Father is cheering, “Hapa! Hapa!“