Giraffes have been my favorite animal since I moved to Zambia. My favorite memory was when I took my parents on safari in Botswana and we sat in the middle of a huge herd of them. It was amazing!
Then there was the time a giraffe rolled across the hood of my truck. Yeah… that happened…
I wish I could say it was all a joke. In fact, many people have asked me if it really happened. Yes… yes it did.
I had left the base that morning as scheduled. Winnie, one of my translators, and I were headed for Sikaunzwe Village, where we were spend the day teaching at two different leadership meetings. It was our normal schedule, driving along a road we’d be on hundreds of times before.
In order to reach the villages, we pass through a small game park. As we entered, Winnie immediately went on animal alert. You don’t see wildlife near the road very often due to the traffic. About halfway through, Winnie pointed out some giraffes standing farther into the bush. Immediately I slowed down and we kept moving forward. A couple of minutes later, this giraffe came barreling out of the bush at full speed!
I hit the brakes and watched as the giraffe hit the side of my truck, sliding over the hood and into the ditch.
“Jesus, Take the Wheel” would have been a good theme song for that moment. Winnie and I immediately checked on each other. Seeing that we were both fine, we looked at the giraffe. It was still alive but struggling to get up. Immediately I suspected he had a broken leg or some other serious injury. In fact, a taxi driver shouted as he passed that I would be charged for the giraffe by the police.
As I got on the phone to call our base, Winnie got out of the car and started praying over the animal. As soon as she prayed, he jumped up and walked off as if nothing ever happened! Praise God!
After interviews by the police and help from friends and staff, we were able to drive my truck home. There had only been body damage to the vehicle. The animal had been moving so fast that his full weight (3 tons!) never fully came down on the front end! Repairs are being made and my truck will be as good as new by the time I get back to Zambia.
However, I think it’s time to find a new favorite animal.