Thursday, March 5, 2015
“There is no greater happiness than spending several hours at the DMV.” ― Me (being sarcastic)
We discovered yesterday that Tanzania was changing the way the motorbikes were to be registered and that all back taxes had to be paid before you could get the new kind. Oops. We had forgotten to pay the taxes for the last seven years, so a $25 license plate is going to cost us $500, but it is our fault (my fault, actually, but I am willing to share the blame). It also means that while John is working and teaching in Musoma today, Shaban will be spending several hours at the Revenue Office (yes, ours is just as bad as the ones in the U.S.). I don’t know what it is with license plates and driver’s licenses, but we have lived in four states in the U.S., and every single one of them seemed to have the meanest, sourest dispositioned, and poorly organized employees. I would stand in line for hours only to find when I got to the window that I was in the wrong line or did not have the right paperwork. This does not seem to be a local phenomenon but worldwide. I was talking to friends from France and Italy and they got into a heated argument over whether France or Italy had the absolute worst and most frustrating Revenue Departments, so it seems it is a global issue. How they find that many employees who seem to delight in upsetting, frustrating, and disappointing the people they serve is a mystery to me because I see good in all people—although it is harder to see when standing in the wrong line for an hour or two and being spoken to as if I were a misbehaving child or an idiot. The internet has been down for two days, and we have only had very spotty internet service from our phones (very slow and very iffy). I was pleasantly surprised to find that not only had yesterday’s blog actually posted, but quite a few had read it. Then the internet went out again, so I don’t know if this one will get out or not. About the only time we ever get anxious here is when we cannot communicate with our children and friends, not only in other countries, but even here in Tanzania. We need to communicate or at least we feel that need. Otherwise, we seem to be cut off and alone here. Happily, the last two days have been unusual for us. On a side note, as a diabetic, I was pleased to find that we could get Coke Zero here, but they ran out three months ago and no more seems to be on the horizon. Coke Zero came in plastic 500l bottles and was just fine. We turned to Coke Light which was in 300l glass bottles, but that ran out after a month and half with no hope of more anytime soon. Shaban was able to find a diabetic Indian merchant in Musoma who likes and imports 500l plastic bottles of Diet Pepsi, so I have now switched and will have five more cases when Shaban and John return today. Karen is improving slowly, but at least her blood pressure has returned to normal. Don’t know what we would have done without Sissie constantly reinforcing her love for Karen almost every moment, but she has and does and it makes Karen smile and that’s worth a ton. We do still love it here, but we are happiest when we can communicate with the folks back home. Keep us in your prayers—they don’t depend on a working internet.