The story begins here: Missionary Travel Stories.
Continuing from yesterday, my dad Hal is sharing his story of traveling through Central America on the Pan American Highway, 1963. Enjoy the twelfth episode in his journey:
When I got out to see what had happened, there were Indians everywhere in their distinctive colorful garbs. There must have been about five hundred who hovered around me, all talking at once in their language. I can tell you I didn’t have peace in my heart, but within moments an American drove up and saw my predicament. He was a man in business there who spoke Spanish and dialect! He said, “There is the chief of one of the tribes over there. Give him five dollars and tell him to protect the trailer and that you will give him five dollars more when you come back.”
Then he told me to drive to bottom of the mountain, take the first right turn. I did what he said, although this took me in the direction I didn’t want to go. Within an hour, he said, I would come to good sized town which had a big hotel right off the plaza. He said to explain my problem to the owner, who spoke English, and to tell him the American sent me. Sure enough, when I found the hotel and talked to the owner, he grinned said, “I think we can help you. I’ll have someone go with you and help bring the trailer in.” I thought he meant immediately, but the one who was going to help me had to wait until his garage closed for the evening.
He suggested I eat first, which I was happy to do since I hadn’t eaten in about sixteen hours. In the large dining facility I saw young Indian girls dressed in their costumes all over the room, and about ten attended me. One brought water, another bread, another the menu. I felt like a king!
About 5:00 in the afternoon the garage owner came for me, and I took him back to the mountainous area where I had left my trailer. Remembering the dire warnings of the border officials, I was worried all this time that my trailer might have been opened and I would surely end up in jail, besides losing everything. But when we got there at dusk, all the people were gone except the man to whom I had given five dollars and two or three more men. The trailer was just as I had left it, the seals not broken. I gave the chief the other five dollars I had promised him. The mechanic put a piece of smaller pipe inside the three-inch pipe that was the tongue of the trailer. Within fifteen minutes we were back on the road headed in the wrong direction again, but to the right place where I was to spend night and get the trailer fixed. The next day he repaired it, and I left town about ten in the morning.