Father James (Zip) Kuhn is a delightful "Mr. Blue"
character who tied for first place with Eppy James in my survey of the most
unforgettable characters among the Maryknoll priests and Brothers in the Africa
Region. When I first arrived at Tatwe Parish in Musoma Diocese in Tanzania he
told me: "Well, you have just been on the $20 road" meaning that on the final
stretch to his parish a person always did $20 dollars damage to the car.
Jim had two Jeeps when he lived in Ingri Parish in Musoma
Diocese. After a heavy rain he tried to cross the Morari River, but one wheel
slipped over the edge of the cement drift. He walked back to Ingri to get the
second Jeep. The tank was empty so he had to take gasoline from his motorcycle.
Finally he returned to the river to try to pull out the Jeep. Before he finished
attaching the chains the first Jeep was swept completely off the drift. It
floated ten feet away, turned over and sank. With the heavy rains the river
stayed high. A week later Jim came back, found the Jeep under water and pulled
it out. It was filled with sand. "At least we got two free wheel barrows of sand
out of this misadventure," he commented. All in a day’s work!
While driving from Bura Tana to Nairobi in a truck filled
with containers of a ton of honey the steering column broke. The truck veered to
the right and turned over in a deep gully. Jim said: "When we turned over, the
wall on the far side of the gully cushioned our fall letting us down in almost
slow motion." Out of 35 containers of honey only one was stolen. The always
optimistic Kuhn noted: "It was the ending of a bittersweet tale."