Here is a little window into life here.
I made the decision that we needed to do something about the internet situation at our place. The data signal at our house had gotten so bad over the last few months, that there was no answering any emails. I would have to go up the road and find someplace to park just to pull emails in.
So, I found a company called Indigo Telecom in Nairobi, Kenya, that provides satellite internet for the best price I could find. I had several other errands, so I made a drive up with Pastors Samson and Hamisi on the 26th of March, and we collected the equipment and the technician who would install it. We began the return trip on 29th, leaving after attending the morning worship with our friends at Emmanuel Baptist Church. We made the Tanzania-Kenya border crossing at 6:00PM, only to be told that we could not cross because there was no customs officer on the TZ side to process our passage. So we found a hotel and stayed the night on the Kenyan side.
The next morning, I went to the customs office, and I was told that they only talk to clearing agents, not to the tax payer directly. So I spend the morning trying to find someone reputable to be my clearing agent. The agent stages a claim in a computer system that is forwarded to the TRA (Tanzania Revenue Authority) office at the border. That claim is forwarded to the TRA office in Dar Es Salaam for review, then they reply back to the border office to tell the tax payer how much to pay. This took three hours, which was very, very quick compared to normal. Then I made a very, very quick drive to Tarime (about 20km from the border) to make a deposit to pay the tax amount. I got to the bank just as they were closing the doors, made the deposit and then flew back to the border as fast as I could.
When I got back, the clearing agent took his debit card (which was just loaded by my bank deposit) to the accounting office at the TRA building. Just as he was swiping his card to make the payment, the power went out! This meant that the money was debited from his account, but no receipt was printed. We tried the rest of the afternoon and evening, but to no avail. The payment would not go through, and they would not let us cross the border with the goods until the payment registered. So, we stayed at the same hotel for the second night.
The next morning, after three more hours, the system had reset itself, the payment went through, and we were given the papers to cross the border.
While it was certainly disappointing for the process to take two more days, I am still thankful for how it all worked out. I got in a lot of reading while waiting, and I had some great discussions with Samson and Hamisi. Yes, they hung around! I told them that I would help them find alternative transportation, but they said, "We started this trip together, and we will finish together!" Delays like this are common here.
I felt like my character was tested, but I am glad that God gave me the grace to handle the circumstances in a way that I hope brought glory to him.
And, by the way, the internet works now. I am writing this post from home!