Monday, March 10, 2014

Miracle

After you have lived here a while, you begin to learn what constitutes a miracle. Case in point:

Friday a week ago, we had someone break into our car and steal my backpack. Besides getting a few little trinkets, they didn't get away with much. At least that's what I thought at the time.

It turns out that our registration for the car and Interpol clearance papers were in the bag as well. So, Monday I had to make the trip back to Lusaka to try and begin the process of getting these important documents reissued. And that's where the miracle comes in.

Here's the process:
1. Go to RTSA and pay for an inspection form. RTSA is the equivalent of the DMV. Usually lines are long and delays are to be expected. When I got there, there were only 5 people ahead of me. Prayers answered. And yes, I did pray!

2. Go to Central Police (about a half-mile away) and fill out a police report. I just left my car at RTSA because finding the spot I found was a miracle in and of itself. This process went rather smoothly. It probably helped that I greeted the officer in charge in his tribal tonga language.

3. Go just around the corner to the local car wash and find the commissioner of oaths. He was stationed in an old shipping container. I needed him to witness my affidavit. Prayer 2 was answered when one of the guys in line with me at RTSA actually gave me a copy of an affidavit. Had he not done this, it probably would have added 5 more steps to the process. After getting the affidavit witnessed, I headed to step # 4.

4. Physical Inspection. I had to take the car all the way across town, through horrible bumper-to-bumper traffic to be inspected by another person from RTSA. This was answered prayer #3. While the guy from RTSA was getting ready to inspect, I noticed an Interpol inspector. I asked him if he could do Interpol at the same time as the inspection. He agreed against the wishes of the RTSA agent. So with both inspection papers in hand, I now had to head back into the middle of town through the traffic that I so dearly love.

5. The Third RTSA office was in the middle of town. I arrived just past lunch and this place was packed. Within 20 minutes I was able to figure out the right line to stand in and was issued the registration. At this point, anything else that I accomplished was just icing on the cake. So, I decided to try and complete Interpol as well. After standing in 2 more lines and paying for more paperwork, I was ready for the 6th and final step.

6. So, I jumped back into my car and headed back across town one last time. This time it was to pay the fee for Interpol at one of the local police stations, the only one which handles Interpol, and wait the two weeks it takes to produce the approval paper. Here's where God answered another prayer. When I went into the head officer's office, I greeted him in Lozi (a tribal language from Western Zambia). I only know the greeting in this language, but it worked. He turned out to be Lozi. After hearing me, he asked one of his guys to prepare it while I was in the office. The document that takes two weeks was now in my hand, along with the registration, and all in one day.

This, my friends, was a true Zambian miracle!

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