In early September, we packed our 20-foot container of all the belongings we would need for the next six years. On Tuesday we learned that two days later, packing day, we wouldn’t be able to ship the vehicle we had bought the week before, specifically for Africa (4x4 diesel Toyota, sayonara $8000). Hence, we reduced the container from 40 feet to 20, unpacked everything and re-triaged all our belongings to suit an unfurnished house for the next six years. We ended up leaving many things behind, but we know we still have everything we need.
It was interesting to wrestle internally about bringing things for the hospital versus bringing things for us.
Processing the news that we couldn’t ship our car and that there was no reliable vehicle at the hospital, we decided to buy motorbikes.
We found a motorbike over an hour away from our house, about four years old. It was moving day. After not sleeping the night before (due to packing), I picked up a U-Haul trailer at 7AM. My friend Don drove out to pick up the motorcycle. Don called later to say that the man wasn’t ready to sell the motorcycle because it was still in the shop. Mildly perturbed, I called all the motorcycle dealers around. The closest one had two motorcycles left of the exact type we were looking for and gave us a wonderful deal, provided that we could pay cash.
Don was driving back and stopped at the motorcycle shop. Between what I was able to withdraw from the bank and what he had, we had exactly the right amount of cash.
As I was in the motorcycle shop, the first motorcycle owner called. As it turns out, Don had actually met some other man with the same type of motorcycle for sale at the same shop in the same small town in Western Massachusetts!!! The first man still wanted to sell the motorcycle, but there was no time to go pick it up again and we were signing the papers for the two motorcycles in the store. (In addition, the brand-new motorcycles were discounted to the point of being almost as cheap as the used one.)
I convinced the store owners to not register the motorcycles in Massachusetts, saving me money. We left the fuel and oil tanks virgin and never connected the batteries, making the motorcycles much better for shipping.
I drove the motorcycles back home on the trailer, where the movers had waited impatiently (but waited!!!) in front of the house for thirty minutes to get the motorcycles on our container.
Going inside after an exhausting day, I checked email and read the message that any motorcycle over three years old would not be importable. If we had bought the first motorcycle, we would have been stuck.
I don’t know why, but God wanted these specific motorbikes in Tchad.
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