Talking with Sue on the phone the other day, she reminded me of an amusing (in hindsight) incident that happened to her in Tripoli when Emma was a toddler.
When she came home one afternoon, she had a little trouble parking because there was some minor construction work going on near our villa. As it was raining, she didn't go out again that day.
The next morning she got ready to leave for work. She and Emma walked down the front steps and opened the front gate. The rain had caused a big puddle to form right outside the gate. A nuisance but not at all unusual. So she tucked Emma under one arm, held her car keys in the other hand, and stepped out into the puddle.
Unfortunately, the puddle wasn't really a puddle. It was a seven-foot-deep hole full of muddy water. While Sue had been at home the previous afternoon, the construction crew had dug a huge trench all along one side of our street and this trench had filled up with water overnight.
Sue struggled to stay afloat and to keep Emma's head above the water. She shouted for help but the street was empty. Sue's clothes and Emma got heavier and heavier. She started to tire.
At this moment, a car drew up alongside. The Libyan driver opened his window and looked down at Sue. "What are you doing?" he asked. A reasonable question in the circumstances.
Sue didn't bother answering. Instead, she pushed Emma up and into the man's arms.
Then she started diving down to the bottom of the hole looking for her car keys. She couldn't find them. This meant there was no way she could get back into our house.
The only solution was for the man to drive her to his house so that she could use his phone to call a friend for help.
According to Sue, the man's wife was not pleased and was more than a little suspicious when he arrived home with a very wet European woman and blond child.
It all turned out well in the end, though. Sue called a German friend who was married to a Libyan man. He drove over, confirmed Sue's rescuer's story to the man's wife, and took Sue and Emma back to his house.