When we first moved to Malawi, we found a car pretty quickly. There was an Irish missionary who was leaving the country and needed to sell her car. It wasn’t the most stylish car and had more than its share of a rusty bumper, but it was 4-wheel drive and had high clearance. At the time, we didn’t know how important those factors would be!
We loved our “green car.” We could haul all kinds of stuff, go to the village even in the rainy season, and do just about everything we needed to do.
But after a few years, the 1991 Toyota Hilux Surf started showing her age. We had liked this car so much that it was tempting to keep fixing the many signs of old age; however, we knew that the longer we waited, the more money we would be pouring into this car. It was time for a new car. So we started looking, and this time it wasn’t as easy as the first time around. We looked for months. Because Malawi imports all their cars from South Africa, England, or Japan – right-side steering wheel! – cars are expensive. And because you don’t know the car’s history, there are a lot of questionable cars. Eventually we found a great deal on a 1997 Toyota Hilux Surf (same as the green car, just newer model), and decided to buy it to keep us mobile in between the “green car” and “the car we really wanted.” But as mentioned, it was a great deal, so we figured there must be something very wrong with this car.
We drove the “white car” for several weeks before we had to take it in to get something fixed. We took it to one of the best mechanics in Lilongwe (um, not the one pictured above…) and asked his opinion on the car. We’d started to grow fond of it, but didn’t want to get too attached because the plan was to replace it as soon as we could find “the car we really wanted.” But the mechanic surprised us and said that the car was in great condition and would likely last us many years. There was just one other thing that bothered us. The car was a good deal… had it been stolen? A quick trip to the Interpol office cleared that up. With our minds at ease about the reliability and legitimacy of this car, it suddenly dawned on us – we had already found “the car we really wanted.”
So this post is a thank you to the many of you who read of our need for a car in our newsletters and graciously helped us raise the money for it. Between what was donated and the sale of the “green car,” we were able to cover the costs of “the car we really wanted.” We’ve enjoyed the reliability (and air conditioning!) of our new car immensely, and are so thankful to have a great car that we can do everything with, from grocery shopping to taking extra people to church camp. Thank you!