Here are the truck-pickup-in-Monrovia stories. John 2 and I discussed with Saah about a late afternoon departure on Thursday. I had made all the necessary phone calls to arrange lodging for me at the LCL Guesthouse and nearby for John 2; drop off of two boxes at the Peace Corps office for Andy Penfield and associate; acquisition of insurance documents; delivery of our new truck in Vai Town followed by pickup of a 1,500 gallon water tank at Eagle Electric for pickup on Friday morning; and finally to grab lunch at the Royal Hotel before heading home. The schedule didn’t quite work out that way.
We did leave around 3:30 Thursday and arrived with a whisper of daylight still lingering over Monrovia (courtesy of mild inbound traffic) as we dropped off at Peace Corps then I checked in at the guesthouse. I decided dinner at the Royal seemed like a better plan than lunch the next day. Saah dropped me off on his way to finish an evening errand. I enjoyed my predictably satisfying chicken Caesar wrap, French fries and Coke – the latter being a poor caffeinated choice given my restless sleeping pattern with a cold. I tossed throughout the night alternating between wide awake and semi-sleep coughing. I had envisioned more rest given the comforts of AC.
I met John 2 around 7:30 the next morning and caught a cab to our insurance agent down Tubman Blvd. Tom Kollie of Activa Insurance had everything prepared just as I had hoped so we were quickly out the door into another cab headed for Vai Town. Cabs tend to have limited territories so we had to get out before the bridge by Providence Island and catch a ke-ke (pronounced keh-KAY), a three-wheeled motorbike taxi that tend to adeptly weave through city traffic. We arrived at a the JMC truck dealer and began the pre-delivery paperwork.
As I talked with brothers Maher and Mazen Chacra, I asked about some possible modifications to increase ground clearance for adapting to our rugged upcountry dusty roads. Somewhere in the conversation they asked if I new another Litheran guy named Foster…which, of course, is the Jim Foster I know (who introduced me to our construction workers). Turns out he recently purchased the same vehicle but put on larger diameter tires with heavy lug gripping tread. I asked how much and he offered to subtract the value of the original truck tires from the new tire cost for an excellent deal. Things were moving along.
The dealer estimated 2 hours for the tire swap and nearing the 3 hour mark I was getting antsy. I suppressed my usual angst because this dealer came through on his promise to register the vehicle for free – a $300 fee plus some “grease” money to smooth the process that I didn’t have to deal with. To my amazement, we actually had a license plate. The Foton took 18 months to get plates – this took three days. Ultimately, the tires were done and looked quite bush-worthy.
John 2 pulled our pristine pickup into the lightly trafficked easterly side of the median and made a U-turn into the heavily trafficked westerly side to head through town towards Eagle. Just then, Amin from Eagle called to say there was a date mixup and his uncle thought I was coming Saturday morning. I told him our location and he immediately had us do another U-turn to head directly to the water tank molding manufacturer. The roads were ugly and it took a while to get through it. We arrived at the DuraPlast factory on Jamaica Road and entered a massive warehouse facility. In brief, I did a few switchbacks between office A and office B to have employee C stamp paperwork for manager D and gate security man E before finally having worker bees F, G, and H load the monstrous rotationally molded black cylinder on our showroom white truck bed. We were off after handing duplicate paperwork copies to gate #2 guard I and gate #3 guard J and ultimately being tricked into stopping for panhandler K standing in the exit fearing he was yet another in the alphabet soup of this labyrinth.
We then endured nearly an hour of potholes and traffic before finally reaching Eagle where more supplies completed our mission to Monrovia. The big bummer was that the AC on the new truck wasn’t working….but we weren’t about to do another U-turn. Warranty work for another time.
I seemed ridiculously hot today so I reduced the line items on my To Do list. My day started with a serious conversation with our head of security about an important concern regarding employee performance. Lavela arrived from Lofa for a visit so he and I went to Gbarnga to pickup planks to make a flat platform for the new water tank. He went to work on that while I sat in the guesthouse porch repairing a few power tools by replacing worn brushes. A typical collection of visitors, miscellaneous repairs, and resting on the cool concrete floor passed the day. Tomorrow will be a special celebration service on the GLTC campus so Leon continued some preparations with Sumo.