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Saturday, December 17, 2011

The challenges aren't always obvious

As usual a trip to the city involves a 'little chat' with some 'nice' policemen. Yesterday we went in using a taxi. The truck was busy moving blocks and water, and through the kindness of one of the student pilots we were going to pick up our first 4x4 vehicle for MoM. The taxi driver was pulled over and the policeman pulled open the car door shouting 'you are not wearing shoes, get out of the car'. Of course, if you are not used to such things it can make your heart beat faster. Ofori, the driver quickly got down to show that he was wearing shoes (it is a new 'policy' that you cannot drive bare foot or in sandles), and we were 'released'. Whether some small coloured piece of paper changed hands or not, I cannot tell! The policeman did not notice that there were no seatbelts in the back of the vehicle - another legal requirement!

All the same we got to the city and collected the Mitsubishi Pajero that has been made available to MoM through kindnesses of several people and organisations. IT is not new, it needs some work and it does have 156000 on the clock. But it will make a great deal of difference to what Ben and Michaela can achieve in 2012. We went into the Department of Social Welfare to renew our NGO certificate and were received well, including thank you's for what we do. Then it was 'back on the road' to get out of the city.... and guess what... another kindly policeman... This time we were accused of doing U turn (behind ten other vehicles) where we should not have done so. I pointed out that there was not a sign saying 'No U Turn', but was told that the fact that there was not a sign saying 'U turn' made it illegal. Pleading ignorance, and accepting my 'education session', I was then asked to provide some 'porridge' in return for my lesson, it was done nicely, but I did not like it. In all of my years here I have NEVER paid for such 'a release' (it has cost me a lot of time). I then explained that 'it was not a correct thing to do.... and before we could enter into too much 'negotiation' got back in the car to drive away!

I hate going to the city - as much as anything the four or five police stops that will punctuate the day are enough to put anybody off. I don't mind being stopped if there is a reason... but the checking of my driving licence twice in a few kilometers is not fun - but it is a part of life here, and we get used to it.... somehow!

The Pajero will need some work and we are going out for quotes in the new year.... if you would like to help, please click on the paypal link!

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