Although we had a nice time in Lalibela, we had some more visa processing to do in Addis so we had to rush away. Perhaps we didn’t tip the priests enough for those pictures, because not more than an hour outside of Lalibela, trucking through the valley before heading back up the escarpment, the Land Rover (Landy or Kaspuuurr as it’s affectionately called) stopped. Climbing out of the car, we popped the hood as the local children swarmed us. With a mix of curiosity and fear, the obviously destitute children approached the car. We greeted them in the little Amaharic we know and with big smiles, but they were more intrigued by the land rover than by us.
Diagnosing the problem after an hour or more of tinkering with everything in the engine, it was decided that Ally and I would hitch back into town on the next vehicle that passed, get to a garage and try to get a mechanic or tow truck back to the boys and the Landy. Easier said than done.
Four hours later, Ally and I had negotiated with the mechanic in Amharic, filled up his motorbike, sent him on his way to help the boys and the Landy, climbed in an out of a steep ravine and been eyeballed by several local men who came to the garage for the express purpose of looking at the “faranji” women. Meanwhile back at the Landy, Danny and Campbell had determined it was the fuel pump and attempted to pump the gas through the system using the air mattress pump. As you can see from the picture, that didn’t go so well. When that failed they worked to turn the car so it was pointed downhill, got it stuck perpendicular to the road, and when they weren’t strong enough to push Danny harnessed himself in as if rappelling and used his body weight against a small ledge to try and pull the car back into place…eventually a truck came and 5 men helped accomplish that job quickly and it was only a short time more until the mechanic we had sent arrived.
All in a days work.
The mechanic thankfully understood the problem and between the guys they rigged the engine to run off a fuel from a jerry can to get it back to Lalibela. The only remaining problem was that the jerry can had to be held on the hood of the car for the 35km trip back to Lalibela…so one of the mechanics sat on the hood the whole time and held it in place.
It would be a couple of days before we could get out, get the needed fuel pump, get back to Lalibela, perform the repairs, and drive off.
As everything transpired, the group of children watching the show grew and grew. They even helped the boys push the car (to no avail) and graciously accepted a few cookies as a thank you. They watched closely every time a door opened and ran around the car to check out what was inside. Their curiosity helped to make for a rather amusing breakdown.