I had a good night’s sleep at LCL and woke up feeling a little more rested than usual. Saah met us about 8:00am and repacked the Land Cruiser in preparation for the trip up to Gbarnga. I had planned to go on a solo expedition shopping for a new truck but Leon and Donna decided to go along too. First stop was the JMC truck dealer in Vai Town (down the road from the Foton dealer and not far from the port). There was little traffic getting there early on this Saturday morning, though a different story on our return trip. I met with the dealership owner, Mazen Chacra, a mild-mannered Lebanese man with a low-pressure sales approach. I shared my many concerns including the crucial need for genuine spare parts being readily available in Liberia (not ordered from China). I looked over the vehicle with Saah acting as consultant since he has experience hauling loads with baby Foton. I was satisfied and began a very brief price negotiation. Mr. Chacra attended a mission school as a child and felt a connection to our work. He offered a price lower than the target price I had penciled in my mind, offered to have the truck registered at the Ministry of Transportation AND cover the cost for this, PLUS gave us supplies to carry to Gbarnga for performing the first two oil changes. I was pretty happy with how it worked out. The truck will be ready for pick up as soon as the funds are wired from our bank account…which could take up to a week.
We moved on to our next errand – searching for empty egg cartons for our poultry farm. I had a tip from someone that said a store in the Waterside market area named “The Sunshine Store” sold boxes. We searched unsuccessfully and asked around with little response. We were referred to another seller in Clara Town (back where we just came from for the truck) and found someone who claimed to sell egg boxes. The problem was the local evangelist was doing a devotion in the storefront as nobody would pass by to go see if the boxes were the correct size. We waited a few minutes and gave up.
On to the supermarket for stocking up food then to fill the gas tank. We pulled into a Total gas station and ended up waiting 45 minutes because the tanker truck had just started filling their main tanks and pumps weren’t working. Growing frustrated by this delay, I walked to a nearby market stall to buy Saah a soft drink. I noticed they were selling eggs so I struck up a conversation. Next thing you know, I was buying empty egg boxes and egg trays. We loaded the Land Cruiser and were on outlet way north.
We arrived at the school campus around 3:45pm to the usual outpouring of children hugging and singing and maneuvering to hug us and hold our hands. We were swept in a classroom where the students did a brief welcoming program of singing , Bible verses, and remarks. Leon and Donna were overwhelmed by the campus and the outpouring by the children. Leon was choked up as he tried to express his sense of wonderment and appreciation at seeing this dream a reality.
It’s late so that’s all for now. I’ll try to grab photos from Leon and Donna to post tomorrow (including candid shots of my truck shopping).