Thursday, October 2, 2014

Another story regarding a vehicle.... Went to the shop yesterday to pick up some things for dinner, lunches, etc.... Thought it was a great idea.. I was going to swing by  really fast while the kids were at swim practice so I wouldn't have to drag them around the grocery store.. Got finished, hopped in the car, and the car won't start.. I don't know much about vehicles but I could assess that 1) it was not the battery and 2) it wasn't the starter... I tried many times to turn it on, but no luck.. soon, a crowd has gathered around my car, every person with a different opinion as to what is wrong with it.. A few of the local men ask me to "open the bonnet" so they can check the engine... They swear they are "mechanics".. one of the older gentleman unhooks a rubber tube and starts to suck on it, trying to syphon gasoline (i think).. after a few minutes he says the problem is I don't have any gas.. I tell him I do have gas, I just put in 6000 kwachas worth.. He says, " no, you have no petrol"... With all these opinions being thrown around about what's wrong with my car, I thought I'd put my two cents in and so I say... "I think its the fuel pump." Everyone listens, nods, ponder.. Some say this could be a possibility, but most side with the guy trying to suck gas out of my car.. I don't blame them, he was pretty convincing.. In the meantime, the actual owner of the car we rent from, calls for a tow truck to take it to a local shop... As I am speaking to him, many of the local gentlemen are devising a plan to get me to a gas station to get some gas (because that is what they think is the problem). The owner of the vehicle informs the tow truck driver of my location and the driver asks..."how will I know it is him?" He responds.. " He's the only white guy in the parking lot surrounded by a large group of local men." I should have taken a photograph .
So , anyway, after about 45 minutes of standing out like a sore thumb( mind you, this is in the parking lot of the busiest grocery store in town) a truck pulls up.. It's not a tow truck, but a guy in a nice pickup truck with a giant metal pole ( like a flag pole) and some rope.. (I should have taken a photograph).. we maneuver the car in position in front of a capacity crowd of about 200 people, tie it on to the back of the truck and drive away... The driver of the pick up says.. "ok, look for my hand.. This mean ok, this means slow down, etc. " I tell him, "as long as there's no hand signal for speed up, ill follow you".. We drive about a mile on a busy highway, hazard lights on of course.. and we arrive at our destination..  At first, I was at my wits end... I was sitting in my car thinking.. ok, we have no vehicle, my kids are stuck at school, I have no way to contact them, no way to get home, groceries in the back of the vehicle and I'm 9000 miles away from home.. But, with a deep breath and a few phone calls, all is well and managed in a reasonable time.. Plus, it makes for a great memory.. The men who were trying to suck gasoline out of my car, assess the situation , etc.. it was great.. they all genuinely wanted to help and make sure I was ok..  A soldier with a giant gun strapped to his back kept asking me if I was going to be able to get home. The last thing he said before taking to his post under a nice shady tree... in classic African style... "these things happen, they are machines, not people. "

With the help of some friends, the kids got home, the groceries in tact, Michelle walked home from work, and we had a nice dinner and a great evening at home.. We were picked up by some friends this morning for a ride to school, and will be borrowing a car for the weekend until the other vehicle is fixed.
Still shopping around for a 2nd vehicle.. If anyone knows someone in Lilongwe selling a vehicle will you please let me know..

The photo below is me and a worker at the school named Mufasa. He wears a reds hat everyday to work.. I love seeing him sporting the 1990's era lid.. Makes me think of home every time I see him.. His favorite Reds are Brett Boone and Eric Davis...Go figure!! Honestly I think I freaked him out when I asked to get a photo with him.... Tried to explain that he was wearing my home team's hat... i think it was lost in translation.

All for now.