So... if you own a car in Rwanda, you must go and get your car 'certified' at the Technique Control place.
This only started a few years ago and I thought 'Now that's a good thing - making sure that cars are road worthy.' Much to my chagrin - emission testing is NOT part of the testing ... just everything else.
SO... all cars are to be tested in January, February or March. Our month is March.
Since the beginning of the month of March was a bit crazy for us and then we went on a little vacation (!), last Wednesday was the first day that Serge went off to Technique Control.
Serge was up at 4:30am and at Technique Control by 5am... only to be #60 in line. He asked a guy who was #4 when he arrived... 1am!!!
So... Serge gets to the front and they test our jeep. There some underneath that needs to be changed. So off Serge goes to the garage. Now the 'control guy' made it sound to Serge like no big deal. Now I don't know a lot about it ... but what I do know is that it involved taking off 4 bolts and it took them about FIVE hours to do that. I talked to Serge in the midst of it and all and he says to me, 'I think our car is going to be burned!' They couldn't get the bolts off and so after greasing... it was a the torch of some kind. Serge also said to me, 'Just be glad our jeep is diesel and not petrol...'
So it gets dark at 6pm. Serge grabs a bike and runs off to a shop to buy a lantern so that the guys have light to work after dark.
Then they are searching the whole city for the parts... can't find them.
Serge arrives home at 9pm of the first day... no car and definitely no fixed.
Thursday... Serge has gotten Patrick / Soda, a former street kid of ours who has just graduated high school with us, to be at the garage when it opens.
Morning of the second day, they find the part. They fix it.
Serge goes back to Technique Control and is told...'You fixed the wrong thing... it's this that needs fixing.'
Now... you need to know that Serge did fix what they had written down.
Back to the garage... late afternoon of the second day.
Once again... too late in the day to get the car fixed and Serge comes home the second night with no car.
Patrick is back in the Garage on Friday morning early... Serge finds him there.
The car gets fixed but it's too late to go to Technique Control. Serge being proactive... takes the car for an alignment. With all the banging around, he's sure that it's out and want to have all the bases covered for Monday when it will be back to technique control. Let me also just mention that each garage visit costs LOTS of money, and every time to Technique Control... another payment to get tested. ARG!
At least we have the car for the weekend. It's been an exhausting three days of getting around with taxis - kids to school in the morning, me to J.Lynn's, Serge to the car, Kids picked from school, me home from J.Lynn's, Serge home for the garage... needless to say, nothing else is happening.
Monday... Serge is once sets his alarm for 4:30 am. He gets to Technique Control... about 60 or 70 in line, he says.. He needs to be in meeting so he leaves Patrick with the car again. At noon, he gets a call from Patrick saying he's finished. When he gets there... 'The alignment is out!' ARG!! How can this be!!!???? He leaves in frustration... to say the least. Back to meetings and not sure what to do.
On Tuesday... Jules, Serges' best friend here, says... 'Go back and talk to the Commander and see if he will check for you. Maybe the car wasn't on the machine properly.'
So the go during lunch of day long meetings.
So they go back to Technique Control.. find the commander... he agrees to have it retested and gets a guy to move the car to the front of the line. It's put on the machine... and it's tested. And then he just walks away. You're not allowed to be where they are testing the cars so Serge as no idea what is going on - and so he runs after the commander.
He says that it's borderline but it passed. Serge basically begs him to for the pass paper. It's a private vehicle... not for hire... been here for 5 days... please.... please...
The commander waves to the 'pass paper guy' and Serge has the paper.
Whew... until next year.