Near Death

Companies pay shop owners in small towns to paint their building the color of their company with logo. We drove through town after town painted bright hot pink, or yellow, or in this case, alternating with the competing colors of two rival phone companies.

Banana Truck

A few days ago, Jon, Cher, and I got in their car and drove from Kampala, Uganda, to Nairobi, Kenya.  If you look at a map, it doesn’t actually look that far, but as with everything in Africa, without good roads, 10 miles can take an hour, or a 313-mile drive can take 12 hours.

I sat in the back seat, in the middle so I could see the view. Unfortunately, the view for me felt like a constant replay of my near death.  Most of that was due to Jon passing on blind curves and hills.  After an hour or so, I announced that I would like to apologize in advance for the expletives that would most assuredly spill out of my mouth as I saw my impending death. I just didn’t think I’d be able to stop it. God only knows why I chose to stay in the middle with a full view, but I did until the last couple of hours when I could actually feel my blood pressure. I should have suspected the danger when Jon suddenly announced loudly “One!” and then explained that they like to count all the accidents on their way to Nairobi.

The Melted Highway

The road has improved a lot in the last few years, according to Jon and Cher.  I didn’t think it was too bad. The strangest section came after crossing the border into Kenya. Jon and Cher call it the “melting road.” The pavement literally has melted from the heat, and combine that with the traffic and especially large heavy trucks, it resembles a road after a big snow storm when the traffic presses the snow into deep ruts from the tires, and high icy ridges all around.  Getting out of the ruts causes a feeling of being out of control, like on ice, weaving all over the road until you can get back into the rut.  Since Jon likes to pass, with little room to spare, it was one more thing that caused anxiety.

The Melted Highway 2

Then it happened.  Two huge trucks barreling down the hill toward us… IN OUR LANE…trying to avoid potholes on their side of the road.  One truck got over into his lane, but the second truck did not.  And I don’t mean that he moved at the last minute, I mean he did not get out of our lane. Jon slowed down, thinking that he would surely move over – his lane was empty – and when it dawned on all of us that he wasn’t going to, had no intention to, Cher screamed, I said, “Oh sh…”, and Jon tried to jerk the wheel over onto the almost non-existent, drop-off shoulder. It happened fast and Cher said, with a full view from the front, that the truck missed us by mere feet.

It’s not the way I want to go. I had a dream yesterday. We were at Tsavo Game Park (where we will be going in a few days), and there were elephants.  I love elephants. And they were close, and one started to charge me.  I looked over my shoulder at Jon and Cher and smiled. I felt happy. That’s how I’d like to die, being charged by an elephant.

This picture is not mine, although I wish I had taken it.  It is by Josh Cadd, my nephew, and taken at Tsavo from the porch of the house they were renting.

Tsavo Elephant, Kenya. Photo by Josh Cadd


  1. Tami R. 8 June 2010 at 6:46 am #

    Ok, I was driving today and there was a car coming toward me and they were on their side of the road. But their window was down and their music was a bit loud and I thought they were a bit rude. Just made me laugh out loud when I read your story. How spoiled we get sometimes. I suppose if he had been playing music I liked it would have been fine with me. Ha Ha ha…

    And personally I have always wanted to die charging something… like on my Visa card… You know… She died peacefully with a smile on her face ordering new towels for the bathroom! No wonder I have so much fun reading your posts! Love you and pray for you my friend. Please stay clear of elephants for a while!

    Tami R.

    • lcadd 8 June 2010 at 7:49 am #

      Ok, Tami, I’m going to be waiting for your comments every time I post anything because they make me laugh out-loud. I needed that. Thanks!

  2. Krista 8 June 2010 at 7:45 pm #

    Okay, Lu, how did I not know you had a new blog??? This is awesome! And Cory loves looking at the pictures. After seeing the one of the green bananas he then wanted to see one of green apples. I had a hard time explaining that!
    Oh, and I’m jealous of Josh’s picture too, that is awesome!

    • lcadd 8 June 2010 at 8:43 pm #

      So glad you found the blog. I posted it on Facebook a while back. Did Cory see the photos I just posted of the chameleon and hedgehog? He should like that. Big kisses and hugs!

  3. Bill Sjoblom 9 June 2010 at 4:26 am #

    Great blog, Lu. You make me feel like I am on the seat beside you, except that I am not scared! Don’t ever grow up…the rest of us are jealous!

  4. Jane England 17 June 2010 at 11:35 pm #

    LuAnne Cadd and her near-death experiences. They are so common to you I think you should call what’s left of the rest of your life near-life experiences! I could add a few stories of my own of the number of times you have lead me into dancing with you in the near-death. I love you for it! I LOVE the story & pics of the melted highway. Little moments in life about things like this give me such pleasure. I love that it is still there, that someone laid it in the first place & never thought it would melt & then that it will never change.

  5. Terri (Hardeman) Turner 19 June 2010 at 7:44 am #

    I’m glad you survived your near death journey.

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