R2 is healing


Well, most of you have heard bits and pieces about my car fiasco over the past couple of months. There was talk of rats, flies, petrol, etc….but I have decided to put the rumors to rest and tell it how it was…….

The story begins under the TIA (This is Africa) assumption. You have to keep this phrase in mind, or you will constantly think, “What?!?”.

So….it was mid June, during our first Teen Mania bush trip. We were up in Shakawe, the northern part of Botswana. Between Maun and Shakawe there is only one gas station, so needless to say there is really only one choice and you must use it. I had stopped to put diesel in my car in Gumare (the one station) and also filled a jerry can of extra diesel in case I was close to running out. (This was my first mistake.)

During our 10 day stay in the bush, I indeed ran out of diesel, so I filled my tank with the extra diesel that I had gotten from the jerry can. Problem solved….or should I say, problem started. You see, had I known the status of the can, I would have never proceeded forward, but little did I know that inside that can was a decomposed rat and about 50 dead horseflies. How, you might ask did that get in there? Good question, but here anything is possible and even though it was inside the store on the shelf with the cap on, you can only imagine what is crawling around there. Meanwhile, the diesel that was placed in the can had been sitting for a couple of days in that nastiness. Hence, when I put the diesel into my tank, some extra unwanted creatures made their way into it too.

Now, while I was driving around, my car (R2, for those who haven’t figured it out yet) started acting all strange. He was stalling, sputtering, and eventually wouldn’t start at all. In retrospect, I see that he was only trying to get that crap out of him; but at the time I didn’t understand the problem. So, here I was…out in the middle of nowhere with a broken car (and at the time, also a broken truck…but that’s a whole different story). Luckily, Michael (another missionary and one of my closest friends) came to the rescue and visited us out in the bush and towed my R2 to someone who could help us out. After about 5 hours they found the problem: horseflies and a decomposed rat in my tank. Well, lets just say not only in my tank, but rat hairs all throughout my whole fuel system. (FYI: I have since learned all about the fuel system of cars: fuel lines, injectors etc. and am quite proficient in the subject) They cleaned out what they could, but there was just soooo much more to be done.

To shorten the story…..I had it taken to the garage back in Maun, and they cleaned it out. Unfortunately, it was done African style, and not COMPLETELY cleaned out. I ended up going through this breakdown/cleaning scenario 2 more times before it was finally cleaned out for good….$2000 pula later, my little R2 is finally free of all rat hair, horseflies, and any other gross creatures who claim him as their home as well. He is happy, I am happy, and I can only imagine the garage is happy after the amount of money I spent there.

In conclusion, I learned a couple of things. 1: NEVER put diesel in your vehicle from a jerry can! (Unless it is yours in the beginning and you always keep the cap on). 2: ALWAYS put diesel fuel cleaner in before you fill up your car (just to be on the safe side). and 3: When in Africa, do as the Africans do…..roll with the punches and remember to take your tea break even if life is unravelling around you. No matter what the circumstance is…there’s always time for tea-time! TIA!!!


I was given these pictures to remind me of the adventures of trying to fix R2 out in the bush and to remind me of LV’s assistance as well! 🙂

About Maureen Hochdorf

Writer. Editor. High Techi. Non-Profit Founder. Traveler. Sports Lover. Star Wars Fanatic. Tel Aviver. Michigander.... View all posts by Maureen Hochdorf

8 responses to “R2 is healing

  • Alece

    oh my goodness! what craziness… i enjoyed hearing about your “adventures” and i’m glad that you’re able to laugh about it!

  • LV

    Alrigth, I have to confess, I put the rat in your fuel tank. Sorry, a practical joke taken too far 🙂 Probably one of the best stories of the summer…R2’s first battle with African Rats, he’s 2-0. Great blog Mo, hope you’re doing well!

  • Pam

    Gross! The smell must have been awful, not to mention the frustration. It is amazing what the Lord can give us the strengt to go through!

  • Grandma Plumley

    You have a real gift for writing! Someday you will be a published author.Just because I’m your grandma, don’t think I am partial!!

  • Trish

    You are truly living the life, sister ! I know what you mean about sitting in the beauty chair, even here in America is the highlights that brighten up the days!
    I am also glad to hear that you are taking the vehicular poisoning in stride – from where I sit, I am trying to learn that these things are not a crisis – hey, if nobody is bleeding or dying, it should be a good day!
    Praying for you in your health and your mission!
    Work has been slow and this week I start giving depositions regarding Bryan’s trip to the ER and his death. This takes two days this week, and then I know I have to be in court on the anniversary of my dad’s death and also on the anniversary of my marriage to Bryan. I guess we might as well keep all the memories together and leave me a few days a year without trauma…
    I am leading the worship at church still, although it sounds like it is just temporary. I don’t know – whatever God has in mind…
    Anyway, take care, I am praying for your health and strength! God bless you!

  • Pastor D

    What a disaster story! I’ve seen a few flies in my spare gas cans but how in the world a rat went unnoticed is totally amazing. Hang in there, it can only get better!

  • Sarah

    I loved reading this…..a real TIA moment for you. And seriously, rat and horseflies!! I was giggling the whole time as I hadn’t heard the full story. Glad R2 prevailed!

  • My inner Geekness « Mo’s Marathon

    […] October 13, 2009 by moweezle I may not look like a geek on the outside (other opinions might differ), but I’m definitely one on the inside!  A Star Wars Geek to be specific.  I have blogged about my love for all things Star Wars in the past, and especially my R2D2 obsession (my African Pajero was even named R2). […]

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