When Mike was here it was decided we would buy a tipper truck to use for hauling rabbits, crops and whatever we might need. We have made a deal with Indianga so that he can use the truck everyday to make money and pay us weekly so that we can put that towards the cost of the truck and it’s maintenance. Indianga has had cars that were for hire, and also a taxi van, he is one of the elders in the village and a very wise man with some common sense and business sense. He went to Kampala and found the truck through one of his friends. While Mike was still here, we discussed the process of buying a vehicle here with Indianga and also our lawyer. We were told that when you purchase, the business will take care of everything – tax, transfer of title… Also, when you purchase most vehicles from a business, most likely that vehicle has been imported from Japan and you have to purchase tires and immediately have the vehicle serviced. Okay. Sounds easy enough, right? Ha!
Christian went a week ago Monday to see the truck Indianga found and put a deposit on it. He also gave “chop-chop” money to have the process speeded up and was promised the truck in two days. Seven days later we get the call to come pick up the truck. We leave at 5 am Monday morning so that we can get the truck, go pick up the milling equipment and take it all home. Our first stop was to meet the friend of Indianga’s and he took us in a car lot near where the tipper truck was. We looked at cars and found one that we thought was right for us. Things were looking good! But then (there seems to always be a “but then” here) when we got to the lot with the truck the complications started. Everyone neglected to tell us that to purchase any vehicles or any land, you must first have what is called a TIN number, which as far as we know we do not have. They said for a fee they would take care of that for us, we could still take the truck, we just would not have the title until the TIN number was filed – a few days. Indianga started up the truck and started off the lot and it died. We also noticed that a brake light was not working. Okay – let me stop there for a moment. I was just asked last week after the arrest and also wrangling with customs for two weeks for a package, if anything ever ruffled Christians feathers. I replied that only when it comes to someone messing with his family does he lose it. Monday morning he lost it. The men were fearing him! It was out of frustration, we never get the full story on anything. We were told you do ABC and D and then we find there was also the E step that is pretty important! And then after spending a very large amount of money the truck doesn’t even make it off the lot. After much back and forth – the truck was taken across the street to the service station. There was water in the gas tank. The vehicles that are imported are drained of most of their fluids, that is why first off you must have it serviced. This part you have to follow closely – this is a sampling of what we deal with almost daily. We had other things we had to do so we left Indianga and Sharifu with money to wait on the truck to be serviced and the light fixed. They were then going to take it to have a kind of frame welded on the bed. We barely get across town to where we had to go when Christian gets a call that the truck has been serviced but they don’t have enough money to pay. When Christian left them, the man gave him an estimate and Christian left quite a bit more to cover it. He left that money with Sharifu. With Indianga he left money for fuel. So when Sharifu called and said they didn’t have enough to cover the servicing, Christian asked if they had already filled up the truck with fuel. They had. So we have to stop eating our lunch and go all the way back. This is where it can either be very funny or the most frustrating. When we pull up, Sharifu comes and says they are 12,000 shillings short, as he is handing me the change from the fuel that Indianga had. How much was the change you say? 12,000 shillings exactly. Yes, they had exactly enough to pay for the service and could have spared us skipping the errands we were trying to accomplish because Sharifu was the one given the service money – the change was from the fuel money Christian had given Indianga. We were already stressed out, we are now going on FOUR hours of trying to get the truck. But we had to laugh, it is so beyond our comprehension how their minds work. Richard is the same way – if he goes to market for me, that’s one charge, then the supermarket is another charge and I can’t put the totals together and pay him, that is too confusing. I have to pay for the market and then pay for the supermarket and then pay his fee.
Anyway, we decide that getting the frame welded will put us too far behind so we move on to pick up the first piece of equipment, the pellet maker. This machine takes ground corn, rice, worms…and compresses into pellets that we can then feed the rabbits. Christian had already called ahead to let them know we were coming. Didn’t matter. That stop took another 3 1/2 hours, putting us at 4:45. The business that had the milling equipment said it was too late, we would have to come the next day. So now we have to make a decision. Drive 4-5 hours back home, get up and drive back 4-5 hours the next morning (we weren’t going home anyway because we can not drive our truck in the dark). The decision was made for all of us to stay the night. We gave Indianga and Sharifu money and went on our way.
Needless to say, Christian was pretty stressed by the time we got checked into a hotel. The next morning we went to pick up the milling equipment. That only took about six hours in total, with Raelee and I sitting in a hot truck, thankfully we had a few snacks and cold water. I kept falling asleep and waking up with my mouth open and drooling while a group of men sitting on the sidewalk watched. Fun times!
Everyone made it home Tuesday evening. There was so much excitement over that new truck, people actually bowing down and thanking Christian. As we were headed home, we got the call that our car was ready, so Wednesday morning we and Indianga went to Kampala and in about one hour we had the car! That was very exciting. We had it serviced and headed home. This morning there have been people all morning coming to the door to thank me for the new car! You would think it was bought for them, they are so excited! It is really nice and for once we didn’t get pulled to the side at the traffic stops!
We are now in a race against time to get the rabbit cages finished. The males are maturing and are now fighting and trying to kill each other. Joseph can only separate them five to a cage so we HAVE to get them ASAP. We are down to putting in the water system so we are scheduled to pick them up Saturday. Joseph has given them all medicine to try to help them cope with the travel and new homes. It is quite scary to think about transporting and then caring for two hundred rabbits!
I think that brings every body up to date on our adventures. I had to leave out a few things because you wouldn’t even believe me if I told you! It’s so crazy how different the thinking is here, how what would be unacceptable in America is just a part of life here. I am so thankful to God that we are able to do all the projects, and for the new car. It is very, very nice – has seven seats and will be a blessing for sure when we have visitors. (The A/C is also a plus when stuck in traffic in the 90′ heat!) It has a camera and screen so you can see what is behind you – Raelee thinks that is fantastic. It also has a navigation system, the lady tells us something in Japanese! The stereo controls are also in Japanese so it will take a little while of pushing buttons to figure that all out!
Will keep you up to date on the arrival of the rabbits!