Sunday, February 12, 2012

#92 Are you my Nana? by Zane Netteburg

Nana and Papa are coming! Nana and Papa are coming, I thought to myself. I couldn’t quite get the words to come out. But, who would expect me to since I’m only 7 months old!

Where is my Nana? I looked for her. I looked up. I did not see her. I looked down. I did not see her. I went to look for her. But I could not walk. I needed Mommy.

Mommy packed the little green backpack with water, a change of clothes, and some expensive throw away diapers for me. She told me we were going to the big city to get Nana and Papa. The big city is where mommy likes to buy all sorts of things. We were just there last week and loaded up.

Daddy promised mommy that if she did some work in the hospital before she left, he would take her to get a good bus in Kelo if she missed the one from here. She likes to help daddy, so she said yes.

Of course we missed the bus from Bere, and someone else needed to use the car. So we decided to Klondo it to Kelo. I’ve always wanted to be in a motorcycle gang...ever since that social worker from New Jersey (when I was born) wrote us up for being from Africa and not getting “proper prenatal care.” Boy if she could see me now. I don’t even own a carseat here!

So a Klondo is really just a motorcycle, but it sounds way cooler. Maybe Nana would be driving the Klondo?

I did not remember what my Nana looked like.

Are you my Nana?

The man on the Klondo just looked and looked. He did not say a thing. Nana was not on the Klondo. The man on the Klondo was not my Nana, so I went on.

Mommy wrapped me on really tight against her chest and hopped on the back of a moto. That was around 10am. Klondo driver, mommy, and me.

The road was really sandy. I could feel mommy’s teeth gritting from the tension. Bump after bump we went over. Up and down, up and down. Oh, I guess I fell asleep. Wait! Did I miss Nana? Nope, up and down some more....Up and down, oh, deep sand. Then our moto went 90 degrees in the road and stopped as the driver put his foot down to help us not fall over. Oh, this was exciting! Oh, I guess I fell asleep again.

And hour later we got to Kelo and found a nice bus! And now a paved road. Oh how very exciting. Would we find Nana on the bus? We got on the bus and sat next to a young looking fellow. He had a cool tool box made from a big plastic jug. The side was cut out and a lid fashioned out of the flap. Inside was all kinds of cool tools.

Are you my Nana with all of those cool tools?

“No,” said the man. That was just the "bus repair man" that we would use way too often on this trip. Mommy was so excited about the fancy leg room that she didn’t notice the well used toolbox, the rotting tires, or the pool of oil that was probably as big as a lake under the bus.

The Klondo man was not my Nana. The bus repair man was not my Nana. So I went on.

And we were off! I decided to scream to get everyone on the bus to notice me. As if we didn’t stand out enough already. Boy did my mommy get some looks! This made me scream all the more. It was so hot I couldn’t help it.

“Give him water.” “Give him milk.” “Give him to me.” “Control your child...” And many more helpful words of advice were offered to mommy to help me calm down.

I had to find my Nana! But where? Where was she? Where could she be?

Eventually I nodded off for 5 minutes. The fancy bus started to slow down. Then stopped. Where were we? We weren’t in Bongor yet (the halfway point). We were 10 km’s away. What was going on? Was Nana here on the side of the road?

We all unloaded off the bus. A tall Arabic man in a light green robe with a white turban on his head was talking to our mechanic.

“Are you my Nana?” I thought to myself trying to send him a telepathic message.

“I am not your Nana. I am the driver,” said the man.

He was observing the situation. The situation was that we RAN OUT of GAS!

We waited and waited for more gasoline to arrive on a klondo from Bongor.

The Klondo man was not my Nana. The bus repair man was not my Nana. The driver was not my Nana. So I went on. Then we were off again to find Nana and Papa.

In Bongor there were lots of pretty women with trays of bananas, carrots, and soap on their heads. Surely one of them was Nana.

Are you my Nana?, I tried to say to a young girl with bananas.

“How could I be your Nana?” said the young girl with bananas. “I am a young girl with bananas.”

The Klondo man and the bus repair man were not my Nana. The driver and the young girl were not my Nana. Did I have a Nana?

“I did have a Nana,” I said. “I know I did. I have to find her. I will. I WILL!”

Back on the bus, we settled back into the screaming thing. I tried to scrub my eyes harder to keep myself from falling asleep. Each giant pothole we hit helped me stay awake longer. But then it happened. I fell asleep again.

Then a loud Thwub, Thwub, Thwub woke me up. The bus jolted, slowed, and pulled over to the side of the road again.

We got off and had a look under the bus. Could that old thing be my Nana?

No! It could not! That was a blown tire!

Mechanic to the rescue. Meanwhile we found shade from the trees that grew up by the side of the road.

We were soon on the bumpety road again. I wondered what Nana would look like.
Would she remember me from this last summer? A baby can change in 5 months you know.

It soon grew dark.

Again, our bus stopped to look for Nana. Oh wait, I thought that’s why it stopped. I don’t know why it stopped. Neither does mommy, but we were stopped for several hours with the mechanic guy hanging out under the bus. Maybe he was looking for Nana too, but we didn’t find her under the bus. No, Nana was not under the bus. Nana would be in the big city. And we were NOT!

Mommy entertained kids by the side of the road by teaching gymnastics in the dark. One kid had already learned to do a back handspring by teaching himself. There was some real talent in the village of Lumier.

We finally pulled into NDJ at 10pm. TWELVE hours after we left Bere. This trip usually takes 6 hours!

Off to the airport in a taxi! Mommy considered a Klondo, but the roads in capaital (NDJ) are far too dangerous.

The arrivals of airplanes are interesting here. You see, you never really know what time they will arrive. Nothing is computerized, so you just ask around. The flight was scheduled to land at 7pm, but on Sundays it takes another stop, so actually gets in much later. So we were in luck. We weren’t late!

After another 2 hour wait at the airport, I heard a loud roar! Maybe that was Nana? Something really big came roaring from out of the sky. It pulled up to our building.

Are you my Nana? I called to the airplane. I giggled even though it was the middle of the night. The temperature was finally cooling off, so I was much happier than on that hot bus.

No, that was not my Nana. That was an airplane.

Mommy talked to the security guard just outside the arrival hallway. He was nice enough and let us go into the baggage claim area.

Soon lots of people were flooding the area. Two very white people came over and hugged Mommy.

“Well hi Zane!”, one of them said and gave me a kiss. “Do you know who I am?” she said to me. “Yes, I know who you are,” I said. “You are not a Klondo man. You are not a bus repair man. You are not a driver. You are not a young girl with bananas. You are not a blown tire or an airplane.”

“You are a Nana, and you are my Nana.”

PS. The next day we took the bus ride back with Nana and Papa. It was uneventful and only took us 6 hours. We were so happy to be back home!


  1. That was a great story to read to Logan. Thank you for being so creative! Kelvey

  2. Thank you so much for the wonderful reports and stories from the mission at Bere. I look forward to reading them each week, especially on Friday evenings. I pray that I will soon be able to join in the work at one of the rural Adventist hospitals in Africa. May God continue to bless your witness and work there and give you strength to face the many challenges that you encounter. NRM

  3. I, too, SOOOO enjoy the postings you send! Thanks so much for making a terribly-less-than-ideal situation sound so simple and child-like! Great creative writing! I DO hope some (homeschooling) parents/children are reading!
    SO glad to see you here!
    God bless you and your work. And, enjoy Nana and Papa while they're there! They'll be a blessing, and you'll be a blessing to them!
    Go with God in your work!

  4. I most DEFINITELY recognized this blog's similarities to a book I read to Lyle on many occasions..."Are You My Mother?" Love that one!

  5. I was expecting the snort to eat your bus, or at least scoop it up! Im glad you gathered her safely!