For almost the whole time the Hanlons have been in Rwanda they have been getting around the country in a small, two-door Toyota Landcruiser that they bought off a guy who worked for a water cooperative. The 1992 SUV has over 200,000 km on the odometer, and it just seems to run and run.
I’ve been with Daniel in this vehicle on steep, rutted roads, in mud, on dry dusty rural paths and busy city streets. One night in particular stands out in my mind—we went in search of Richard Ndekezi, who was staying at his brother’s house in an especially hilly section of Kigali. We descended the side of the mountain (that’s what it felt like anyway) trying to follow the curve of the deeply trenched roadway in pitch blackness (street lights in neighborhoods aren’t plentiful). I decided that night that Dan could drive off-road Rally cars if the missionary thing doesn’t work out (which it is, by the way).
I still wondered how the car could take such abuse and keep on ‘trucking’. Some will say it’s because it’s a Toyota and built like a tank. I get that. They have a great reputation. But then I saw it, the picture that made it all make sense. Apparently, during the visit of the former Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, in 2014, the prelate leaned on Dan’s car while speaking with well-wishers. That’s it! He unwittingly gave the old car (affectionately called ‘Thomas’) his Archepiscopal blessing! Who would have thought? Oh well, that car is probably destined to run without incident for a good many more years on the highways and by ways of Rwanda.