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car trouble

Posted by on November 19, 2011

Since I wasn’t staying close enough to walk to Wilkin’s hospital anymore, Salome and I agreed to meet at the office on Wednesday morning and go to the clinic together. Jake dropped me off half way to the office on his way to work so I didn’t have to take the combi but far enough away that I got some good exercise. I met up with Salome and we were ready to go when her truck wouldn’t start! We tried for 10 minutes but it wouldn’t turn over. She had been having some issues with the starter the previous day and her dad (who is an electrician) worked on it but apparently it was not totally fixed. She called her cousin who has an extra car to see if she could borrow one and he said he would come. She also called her dad as well.

An hour later they both showed up and we just transferred our stuff to the cousin’s car when her dad got her truck going. So we transferred the stuff back, crossed our fingers for the day and took off. We were an hour and a half late for the clinic.

It was for the best though because there were a bunch of visiting doctors observing at the clinic that day and the room was already crowded without us. We talked to one of the nurses and were told that the two patients we were hoping to see hadn’t come that day anyway so that worked out. We were informed of another potential client who was an in-patient at the hospital though so we went to see him. After talking to the guy it became clear that we’d have to come back the next day to get sputum samples from him so we left him the consent forms and headed back to the office.

We had planned on going to a bunch of places that day but didn’t trust the car so we went to the office. Salome wasn’t feeling well so I convinced her to go home at lunch time. Meanwhile I did some paperwork then went out into town by myself to gather some supplies. I was very proud of myself when I found all of the shops and didn’t get lost at all!

I was moving to my new place that night and I wanted to wash my sheets and towels so Jake wouldn’t have to do it so I left work a bit early and headed back to his place. I took the combi back as usual but I didn’t have any change so I gave $5 for a $0.50 ride. I and the guy beside me who paid with a 20 waited for our change. And we waited. When we got off at the end of the line, I asked for my 4 Rand (which is accepted here as $0.50 although that is not the official exchange rate). The money guy on the combi tried to give me and the other guy a dollar to split! I had to explain to him that we didn’t know each and that we paid with bills because we didn’t have change. Then the drive pulled out 4 Rand for each of us and we went on our way. If I had not asked and demanded my change I would not have gotten it.

It started raining on my way home so that nixed the laundry plan since everything gets hung up outside. I finished packing up my stuff and then watched a bit of TV while waiting for Jake to get home.

Jake dropped me off at my new place but had to dash off to a work related dinner. Vee showed me around and explained the alarm, inverter (for when the power goes out), etc. Just as I was going to start unpacking, Vee knocked and invited me over for a glass of wine with her and her friends. Having nothing else better to do, I joined them and met Jo, a teacher at the international school, and her daughter, Katie. They were both very nice and we had a great conversation.

I learned that they, and many white people here, are not actually citizens even though they have spent their whole lives here. When Zimbabwe gained independence, the government demanded that everyone had to give up any claim to any other citizenship in order to be a citizen of Zimbabwe. And they had to do it in 6 weeks. Vee is half French and half English and she said the French embassy laughed at her when she said she wanted to renounce her citizenship and the English said it would take five to six months to process the paperwork. She was stuck not being able to be a citizen even though she had lived here for 40 years. And every year she has to renew her visa. It sounds very sad.

They invited me out to dinner with them and I agreed. We went to an Italian restaurant not far away, but I can’t remember the name. I had delicious spinach and ricotta ravioli. By the time we got back it was after 10 and I still hadn’t unpacked anything (not that that took long). Overall, it was a great welcome to the area and I’m sure I’ll like this place much better than the other one although I will miss Jake’s company since it was nice to cook dinner with someone.

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