When the raft began to take shape and lay there among the warships,
golden and fresh with ripe bamboos and green leaves,
the minister of marine himself came to inspect us.
We were immensely proud of our vessel as she lay there,
a brave little reminder of Inca times among the threatening big warships.
But the minister of marine was utterly horrified by what he saw.
I was summoned to the naval office to sign a paper freeing the Navy
from all responsibility for what we had built in its harbor,
and to the harbor master to sign a paper saying that,
if I left the harbor with men and cargo on board,
it was entirely on my own responsibility and at my own risk.
~ page 65 ~
Here the raft is finally completed by the men and the marine officers of the naval base came to inspect the finished product. These same officials, who were initially intrigued and supportive of the idea of the expedition, now held grave concerns at the wisdom and success of this expedition. Suddenly the 'experts' gave their opinion and gave grave advice on what they saw as the vital flaw in construction that would see the demise of crew and raft, and there were many 'vital flaws'. The men were left discouraged but determined. Here we meet some prejudice of new vs old techniques and technologies. Here we meet some prejudice of what we know vs what is different.
'Are your parents living?' he asked me.
And, when I replied in the affirmative,
he looked me straight in the eyes and said in a hollow voice,
full of foreboding:
'Your mother and father will be very grieved
when they hear of your death.'
~ page 65 ~
This sounded bad but, as we stuck to our guns,
we were given a Bible as a present to take with us on our voyage.
~ page 66 ~
This last quote made us laugh as it stuck us as a comical gift in light of the foreboding in the minds of the 'experts'. Reasoning with the explorers did not convince them to give up their plans. A hopeless expedition needs a Bible.
The theory and the plan of this expedition had to work through many discouragements and difficulties from the beginning. But Thor met each one head on and worked through them. This moment was important was because the raft is finished and they are finally going to begin the journey that will truly test their theory. And themselves.
These passages interested us because at such a momentous occasion in a project, journey, career, or life choice, the encouragement and vision of those closest to us and the project at hand matters. It is at those moments where we face the risk of the choice now before us. And many of those around us can only see problems and failure. Thor and his men stuck to their original plan. Risky yet so very encouraging.
At this moment we find ourselves hoping the Kon-Tiki expedition is successful. Here is an underdog we want to back.