Friday, May 23, 2014

How long is long enough?

Hong Kong Harbor
I am so pent up with frustration right now that I thought maybe if I blogged about it and looked at it from a different point of view, it would be more funny than frustrating. (also I apologize for the random pictures of Hong Kong inserted, but I cannot get them to move for the life of me)

Hong Kong Harbor
We took our car into a mechanic here in Lichinga back in January. We were about to leave and pick up my parents from Malawi and our car suddenly began leaking radiator fluid like crazy. We couldn't drive it that way, so we found a recommended mechanic here who we thought could do the job. Normally we do all our car work in Malawi, but we couldn't drive it there with that much fluid leaking. We borrowed a van from some colleagues here and left to pick them up. We thought we would allow the mechanic to work the whole 2 weeks while we were gone and get the radiator fixed. When we arrived back after the 2 weeks, the car wasn't done. Our colleagues allowed us to use their van for a few more weeks while my parents were here, so we gave him a couple more weeks to work on it. He found a few more things wrong with the car and was working on those, and after the few weeks, it still wasn't done. Well, I won't go on, but this is the story of the past 4 months as well. We still don't have our car back. He has told us tomorrow about 100 times, literally. Yesterday, he finally told Tim he could pick up the car. We went and picked it up and drove around a bit and found that the clutch wasn't working properly. We brought it back in and now once again we are at his mercy. To give the guy credit, he really does know his stuff, he is a very good mechanic, just not exactly timely. Things are so different here when it comes to service. In the States, the customer is always right, there is respect for the client as they are paying for the services. Here, it is the client's privilege to be serviced and there is no discounts for long waits, no food returns if there are bugs in it, no meals for free when they make a mistake and bring you the wrong thing(in fact you pay 2x, for the meal you didn't want and the one you do want). It is like we owe them something for providing this service even though the costs or fees may be outrageous. We pay for whatever service it is and if we are unhappy or unsatisfied it is our problem. I guess maybe a lot of this has to do with a lack of competition. The 4 or 5 restaurants in town aren't really in danger of losing cliental and the 2 or 3 mechanics in town aren't really in danger of losing cliental either. You really are at the mercy of the service providers here. We have tried complaining about our car and threatening to take it somewhere else. Well, that doesn't really work, because the car doesn't even run because there are so many parts out of it and where else are we really going to take it, to his brother down the street? I mean really, we can do nothing about it. We just wait and wait and try to just bug him so much, he wants us out of his life. In the meantime, on the bright side, Tim is getting tons of exercise walking or biking everywhere. We have amazing friends who are giving us rides and bringing us groceries. I was so thankful for our trip to Hong Kong. I felt so cooped up without a car and going crazy never leaving the house. We are sure there is a great lesson to be learned here and a plan in it all, but now as we are going into our 5th month without a car, it just feels like, hasn't it been long enough???

Thursday, May 8, 2014

George family creativity (and this is as good as it gets)...

I must say that the George family and me in particular is not known for it's creativity. I really struggle when it comes to creativity, but Mozambique does call for a little creativity and so I am slowly learning. After visiting a friend's house, where they had those horses on a stick. I have no idea what they are called, but they have a horse head and then a pole that the kids can pretend they are riding the horse...Well anyway, my kids LOVED them and wanted one so bad. Of course, I have no idea where one might get one of those around here, without stealing from the said friends. And since we are teaching the kids that stealing is a sin, we decided to make our own. And before you think that I am the creative one, the girls actually came up with the idea themselves, I only helped decorate them.  They have been a highlight of the past couple of weeks, but now they don't look quite so good. Jurnee has managed to pull off the ears and mane and smash the boxes, so they didn't last as long as we had hoped. At least we can always make another...

Now as far as creativity goes, we are thinking Jurnee got most of those genes. She sure is creative in the messes she makes and is never running out of ideas for new ones. She did eat a bunch of markers the other day, literally ate all the tops of the markers and swallowed them. Luckily we only have non toxic markers around here.

She sure was creative when she got into mommy's lotion and toothpaste. Even though you can't quite see it all, the bathroom was all painted beautifully with a mixture of lotion and toothpaste, including herself.
She also decided to try out her painting skills with a bottle of nail polish on the bathroom door behind her(she is hiding the majority of it) and the night stand and the floor.
I thought when we first started the recorder with Traeger and Karis, we made a huge mistake. I think I was about to claw my eyes out, when the squeaking finally ended. What Traeger and Karis might lack in musical talent, they make up for in hard work. They practiced 6 days a week on the recorder in order to preform their recital. We were so proud of them.

This was Karis' first time ever getting up in front of a bunch of people and performing. She had a couple other opportunities and was too scared to do it. She told me afterward that she almost started crying and her heart was beating really fast, but she was very glad she did it.