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???

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