Tag Archives: TIA

TII #1

TII = This is Israel.  I stole it from my time in Africa.  A very popular saying down there in TIA, This is Africa (made popular by Leo in Blood Diamond, but everyone else had been saying it for a long time before).  I digress.  Anyways, I’ve decided to adopt and restructure the title for life here in IZ.  After all, there are many similarities between odd things happening in which there are no explanations except…. TII. (or TIA)

Its a new category here on my blog, so enjoy the TII moments along with me….

TII #1: walking home from Soup Kitchen today and pass by a hair salon.  Sitting outside is a lady who is getting highlight foils done, but needs a smoke break while the color is taking.  Crazy hair, foils sticking out all over, cigarette in her mouth, cell in her hand.  TII!  (and this is a regular sight you will experience all over TA, not just once in a while.)

Pimp My Ride

If you have been following my blog, you know the saga behind R2 (my car).  Just to quickly recap: while in Johannesburg this past Christmas, my car was broken into and almost stolen.  They took out the ignition and the door locks.  So, for the past 5 months I have been starting my car with a screwdriver, while waiting on the ignition part.

Yesterday, I was able to get the part, only to find out it was the wrong one (TIA). BUT, the awesome thing about Africa is how they deal with situations like this.  The exact words from the mechanic were, “We can just modify it to fit.” Awesome! Because my car is an import from Japan, the part needed was 1 millimeter shorter than the part received.  You wouldn’t think 1 mm would be that different, but it is. They decided to “modify” it by filing off the end somehow to make it fit. 

Once the part was fixed, problem #2 occurred.  The new key would not come out of the ignition switch. They then had to “modify” it even more to solve that one. (don’t ask me how…I just cared that they did it) Finally, after a day of modification, my car now has a key!  No more ghetto driving for me… R2 is back to his full self again!  (I might just miss the ghettofication of it all though: yes, thats my word for it.  I was getting quite accustomed to driving that way.  But as I know, you can’t live in the past…gotta move forward)


Above are some before pictures of the missing ignition and me starting the car with my screwdriver key


After photos: who would have thought something as mundane as a key could bring such happiness!

Do you think after all R2 has been though this past year he would have qualified for the Pimp My Ride show in the states?

Unfortunate Extented Stay

Well, I am still here in J’burg…I was supposed to return home to Maun yesterday, but ran into some problems.

1. We broke down half way from CapeTown to J’burg…in the middle of nowhere. My radiator belt broke, causing the waterhose to burst. We had to get towed 40K’s to a small town where of course they did not have the parts, but made a temporary solution till I reached J’burg. 3 hours later, and $200 we were back on the road.

2. When we arrived in J’burg (at 1:30 am) we planned on staying the next day to rest…no rest for us! My car was broken into and they attempted to steal it. One more minute and the car would have been gone. They broke both doors and jammed took out the ignition switch. They took some stuff in the car (including my ipod) and made a quick get-a-way. We had to call a locksmith to change the whole door, and now I can ony start my car with a screwdriver. Because my car is an import from Japan, South Africa does not have the parts for it here. I am going to have to order the part from Japan, and hope for the best.

It was pretty devasting, but thank God we are safe and material things are replaceable. We are beginning to call this vacation the Money Pit as it is sucking the life out of us. The Walkers also had car problems (the brakes) so they have been stuck here as well. At least we can now all drive back home together…whenever the time comes.

TIA! This has been a big one, but I am coping relatively well. God will provide!

Jodi’s arrival

Jodi had her first TIA experience with her arrival here. To make a long story short, once she got to J’burg, South Africa, disaster hit, and her flights were canceled, delayed, missed, and everything in between. She was re-routed to Gaborone (the capitol city of Botswana)….the flight from there to Maun was canceled. She had to book a new flight…and after 2 1/2 days of travel and no luggage, she finally arrived! It was an exhausting experience for her, with no help from any of the African airlines, but she made it and now can say she understands first hand the joy of the “African Way” of doing things. I’m just glad she is here and safe 🙂

R2 is healing


Well, most of you have heard bits and pieces about my car fiasco over the past couple of months. There was talk of rats, flies, petrol, etc….but I have decided to put the rumors to rest and tell it how it was…….

The story begins under the TIA (This is Africa) assumption. You have to keep this phrase in mind, or you will constantly think, “What?!?”.

So….it was mid June, during our first Teen Mania bush trip. We were up in Shakawe, the northern part of Botswana. Between Maun and Shakawe there is only one gas station, so needless to say there is really only one choice and you must use it. I had stopped to put diesel in my car in Gumare (the one station) and also filled a jerry can of extra diesel in case I was close to running out. (This was my first mistake.)

During our 10 day stay in the bush, I indeed ran out of diesel, so I filled my tank with the extra diesel that I had gotten from the jerry can. Problem solved….or should I say, problem started. You see, had I known the status of the can, I would have never proceeded forward, but little did I know that inside that can was a decomposed rat and about 50 dead horseflies. How, you might ask did that get in there? Good question, but here anything is possible and even though it was inside the store on the shelf with the cap on, you can only imagine what is crawling around there. Meanwhile, the diesel that was placed in the can had been sitting for a couple of days in that nastiness. Hence, when I put the diesel into my tank, some extra unwanted creatures made their way into it too.

Now, while I was driving around, my car (R2, for those who haven’t figured it out yet) started acting all strange. He was stalling, sputtering, and eventually wouldn’t start at all. In retrospect, I see that he was only trying to get that crap out of him; but at the time I didn’t understand the problem. So, here I was…out in the middle of nowhere with a broken car (and at the time, also a broken truck…but that’s a whole different story). Luckily, Michael (another missionary and one of my closest friends) came to the rescue and visited us out in the bush and towed my R2 to someone who could help us out. After about 5 hours they found the problem: horseflies and a decomposed rat in my tank. Well, lets just say not only in my tank, but rat hairs all throughout my whole fuel system. (FYI: I have since learned all about the fuel system of cars: fuel lines, injectors etc. and am quite proficient in the subject) They cleaned out what they could, but there was just soooo much more to be done.

To shorten the story…..I had it taken to the garage back in Maun, and they cleaned it out. Unfortunately, it was done African style, and not COMPLETELY cleaned out. I ended up going through this breakdown/cleaning scenario 2 more times before it was finally cleaned out for good….$2000 pula later, my little R2 is finally free of all rat hair, horseflies, and any other gross creatures who claim him as their home as well. He is happy, I am happy, and I can only imagine the garage is happy after the amount of money I spent there.

In conclusion, I learned a couple of things. 1: NEVER put diesel in your vehicle from a jerry can! (Unless it is yours in the beginning and you always keep the cap on). 2: ALWAYS put diesel fuel cleaner in before you fill up your car (just to be on the safe side). and 3: When in Africa, do as the Africans do…..roll with the punches and remember to take your tea break even if life is unravelling around you. No matter what the circumstance is…there’s always time for tea-time! TIA!!!


I was given these pictures to remind me of the adventures of trying to fix R2 out in the bush and to remind me of LV’s assistance as well! 🙂

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