September 11, 2009
Driving in Moz
To me there are three things a person must have to drive:
Driving in Mozambique is no different. Oh wait a minute it is VERY different.
First, you have to have a vehicle and lets just say we are grateful that we now have one. Last month we were able to purchase (ok we still owe some) a Nissan Terrano which is the equivalent of a Pathfinder. It is a 1996 but new to us and we are loving it. It is great to have a 4x4 to get around in. So far, I say that because it doesn't take a long time for inevitable things to "happen" to your vehicle here because the roads are so rough and there are so many invariables, we have only had one problem. That happened one day coming back from another missionary's about 45 minutes away when we were driving along at a good rate of speed and an oxen that was nearly across the road decided to change directions rather dramatically and his horn smashed our side mirror. Thankful it wasn't worse and of course we have done the missionary thing and fixed it by getting a new mirror cut at the market and Marc has glued, sticky tacked and taped it in. What are you going to do when you don't have Auto Place down the road??
Second, you have to have ability. Now here that is not just any normal driving down the road to Walmart ability. We are talking about ability to dart any imaginable thing (potholes, people, carts, goats, bicycles, firewood, etc) that may enter the road way at any time. My least favorite time to drive is at dawn or dusk as there is literally hundreds of people on their way to work/school/mashamba (garden). It takes some practice and some supernatural confidence and alertness to be safe on the road that is for sure.
Third, is you have to have fuel. Now of course you need money and fuel. We have the money but it isn't always as easy to find the fuel. The last couple of months Mozambique has been going through a fuel shortage. Who knows exactly why. First they said the Fuel tanker for our province got stuck in the port and couldn't be unloaded but that was resolved a long time ago and there are still shortages. There are also rumors that pump owners are making it difficult to make more money since it's an election year and rumors are that the government is controlling the prices so they still appeal to the local people. I don't know what the problem is but I know part of life around here is waiting in long lines to get fuel. So far we have been blessed that it seems God favor always goes before us and we "happen" to drive in at a good time.
So, for all the difficulties there are in driving here I am still grateful that we have something to drive, that we have not had any major accidents or mechanical road induced mishaps and that we have not had to go without fuel to date. Actually, sometimes I even forget how different the driving experience is here until I hit a huge pothole, have to slam on my brakes because a goat has entered the roadway or just nearly miss a push cart. Oh the joys of African living:)