With 680 Urantia Books now in place across South Africa, Namibia and Botswana, 300 more arriving by sea in Mombasa, Kenya any day now and a further 300 arriving in Durban, South Africa, a month or two from now, the 1280 books when seeded across all of southern and eastern Africa will represent roughly the halfway mark of the entire African Seeding Mission.
Another year beyond that should be enough to clear up northern and western Africa, then 8 months to seed 1000 Portuguese across Brazil and 6 months for 1000 Italian across Italy but all that only so long as the steady support from the home front continues.
Johannesburg with its stratospheric violent crime rate was always going to be either the city that would get clobbered or that would clobber me. As things turned out, when the dust finally settled, a thumping 129 books had been individually hand-seeded within its city limits. Whilst the vast majority of targets were seeded on foot, the last outlying targets remaining on the very last day Simone Cox, our South African reader friend, kindly chauffeured me to in her car.
A few days in Pretoria covering some of the more important bases in conjunction with the block seeding of the city's public library system then by bus with the remaining books to Gaborone, Botswana's diminutive capital city. With a total nationwide population of just 1.6 million, all important targets centered in Gaborone plus the fact that Botswana makes even South Africa seem cheap to live in, I needed to quickly do my business and get out of there, which is exactly what happened.
Gaborone was accordingly trounced in two days dead. After Jo'burg, taking the city was like kicking over a bucket-sized sandcastle on the beach with a steel toe-capped boot. Tea and biscuits with Brother Brendan at the Passionist's Meditation Centre and a wonderful visit at the library of the madrasa adjoining the city's central mosque helped make my short sojourn in the country all the more enjoyable.
It's the evening of the third day and we've got to get out of this place. It's really expensive. On to the overnight train to Francistown near the Zimbabwe border then, bleary-eyed, straight on to a bus for the all-day journey to Kasane, the small northern-border village with Zambia on the banks of the Zambezi River. No rooms available anywhere and getting dark, but finally, finding an empty tent for the night right on the riverbank, I collapsed in a heap to the sound of the gruntings and oinkings of disgruntled hippos and the full accompanying extra-terrestrial symphony of the African wild.
Up at dawn, unshaven and looking rather pathetic, I walked, bag on shoulder, past the quizzical stares of the emerging khaki-clad safari-goers with their myriad safari accessories and gizmos and on to the road, to slowly disappear in the direction of the border. A couple of miles down the road an African guy stopped to give me a lift the rest of the way.
Over the Zambezi on the free ferry and into Zambia after paying $70 for the visa, then into the back of a share taxi to Livingstone some 50 miles up the road with a beautiful young African woman called Monica for company and who I ended up spending an enchanting evening with later that day.
Booked on to the bus to Lusaka, Zambia's scruffy little capital two days hence and with a few hours to kill that following day, I took advantage of a cheap seat in a share-taxi for the 5-mile trip to the Victoria Falls just for the heck of it. Walking alone just a few feet from the vertical precipice into the Vic Falls, two vicious looking thugs suddenly sprang up from the bushes and tried to block my escape away from the cliff face to my immediate right. With all my cash on me I had to make an immediate decision. With a flash vision of disappearing into the Victoria Falls with a headlocked thug under each arm in my mind's eye, what is known in military doublespeak as an "expedited tactical withdrawal" was conducted. A few minutes later the retaliation came in my leading two machine-gun-toting police officers jogging behind me by which time, of course, my would-be attackers had made good a tactical withdrawal of their own.
Give the devil his due, backing me up to the edge of the Victoria Falls no less was a nice touch and could have made for a rather colourful exit from the world stage. Sometimes in this peculiar line of work you can almost sense the heat signature of the enemy's nearness but always at such times you become faintly aware of the hare-like alertness of the seraphic presences. Consciously aspire to become the one human being that Caligastia would want to kill and you never need worry about life ever becoming dull again.
Back to Livingstone, a couple of petty extortion attempts at my doorstep by the local crime gang then off to Lusaka only to break down 10 miles down the road. A replacement bus an hour later finally got me into Lusaka at dusk from where this report is being written.
Recovering well from a couple of days of poor health as a result of drinking vile, rusty tap water for too long, a poor diet and a lack of sleep, but thankfully the temperature I was running and the aching joints don't look like developing into malaria which concerned me as I had started my malaria tablets a tad late.
Booked on to the slow train to Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania two days from now and waiting to receive the visa from the Tanzanian Embassy which meant another $50. Once in Dar Es Salaam I'll be back on home turf as such was my home base during my bush pilot years. From there, the relatively short bus trip to Mombasa, Kenya to hopefully pick up the 300 books from the port there for the East African leg of the mission, and doubtless another string of ensuing reasons to be cheerful and laugh my way through life on this sacred plot, this sceptered isle called Urantia -- sentimental favourite world across a vast universe.
In search of the Father's will, Mark Philip Bloomfield.