{Post by the Husband} This is Zambia: Mr. Mizinga

October 27, 2011 § 2 Comments

The Rig

A couple of weeks ago, we purchased a ’95 Toyota Land Cruiser – so far, we have really enjoyed it as it can handle the bumpy roads and easily transport bigger items such as furniture, as well as guests (hint hint!).  When we purchased the car, I asked the former owner where he took the car to be serviced.  His answer?  Mr. Mizinga.  I hoped that we would not need to call Mr. Mizinga until the oil needed changing, but after only a week, we started hearing a rattling sound in the front suspension during left turns.  As such, I called Mr. Mizinga and had a car repair experience that exemplifies what life in Zambia is like.

Mr. Mizinga asked me to meet him on the side of the road of a busy street in town.  I picked him up, and he drove around the block with me to listen to the sound.  We parked, he looked at the front right wheel, and then he asked me when he could pick it up to repair it.  We agreed upon Thursday, and a couple of days later he came by World Vision to pick up the car.  I disabled the alarm, handed over the keys, and watched a nearly perfect stranger drive off with our newly purchased car.  Where did he take it to work on it?  I have no clue.  I had to fight back feelings of nervousness throughout the morning as I recalled that while this would be an absurd thing to do in America, it is typical for Zambia.

Mr. Mizinga called me around noon and said that the repair would be 550.  550 US dollars was more than I wanted to pay, but unfortunately it seemed somewhat reasonable as he was going to buy a new exhaust piece and re-mount it as the old one had become loose and was causing the noise we were hearing.  I said to go ahead, and I waited another 6 hours for his call.

At 6:15pm, he came back to World Vision and handed me the bill (which did include his name and phone number on it).  I looked at it, and noticed that there were a few extra ‘000’s after the total (I also noticed an extra 50km on the odometer but that is neither here nor there).  I then realized that he meant 550,000 Kwacha (which translates into 110 US dollars).  Wow, what a great positive surprise!  He explained about the repair and how he had to drive outside of town to find the proper replacement part.  I smiled and thanked him.  Sure enough, the car had been perfectly fixed!  Thank you Mr. Mizinga!

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