Jun 23, 2016

Cien por Ciento (100%): The van saga

On April 14, 2016, one day into our 6 week medical stay in the U.S., we received word from the D.R. that the head gasket on our van motor was fried, done, toast. We sent $ to some of our D.R. friends via paypal to ensure that the work to replace the motor could begin - in hopes that it could be completed by our return on June 1. We checked in every couple of days to make sure that progress was being made so that when we returned we would not be without a vehicle - 6 weeks is a fair amount of time for a major repair, right?. Well, it was NOT ready, and as of today, June 23, it is STILL not ready.

Our second vehicle is a beater of an old jeep that on various occassions has had the drive train fall out. Well isn't that cute? It does get good gas mileage because it runs on propane.   However, for a family of 6, it doesn't function well as our only running vehicle since it only seats 4 (but hey, we live in the D.R. where 6 people can ride on a moto (motorcycle or moped) - so from time to time we do what we have to.)

So, everyday since June 1, 2016, the day we arrived back in the D.R., the mechanic who is working on the van has told us, "Cien por ciento, manaña, esta lista!" Translation: "100%, it will be ready tomorrow!" Jon has been up there multiple times a day checking in on the "progress" which has obviously been slower than    s                l                        o                          w. The process to repair it has been RIDICULOUS (and YES,  I AM YELLING!)   Orphan Annie was right, "Tomorrow is only a day away," but how many tomorrows is it going to take to get our van back????? Well, my friends, we will wait and see.

Here's the deal: we are fortunate enough to have not one car, but two - which is totally a luxury here. Many of our co-laborers on the field don't have cars but use public transportation only.  I don't want to grumble or complain, but have an attitude of gratitude - even when I am super frustrated - because I don't want to offend the Lord or those around me by diminishing these gifts!

One thing I've realized is that I grew up in and many of you are reading this from a place where customer service is somewhat of a right, and that business culture generally embraces the philosophy that the "Customer is always right." If, as a customer, things are less than satisfactory, there is always a course of action to take to bring some resolution to your dissatisfaction - talk to a supervisor/manager, get your money back, a new product, the opportunity to give a bad review, write a letter, affect change, etc. It doesn't work that way here, which has been a painful and eye-opening process to be a part of.

After all, you don't want to burn a bridge with the person who has your van in pieces because you need them, even though their 100% is actually more like 00%. In the U.S., we would just take our business somewhere else, but you can't always do that here. I wonder if there is a lesson in here somewhere? What do you think? If you were in a bad situation (not life threatening) as a consumer and had to stay in it, what would that mean? How would things be different?  What would resolution look like? You can't always get up and go somewhere else here when things don't work out as you expect, though you may want to - but I wonder if maybe there is a nugget to be harvested in this situation? Just curious about your thoughts. Are you guys out there?

P.S. In the near future, "Si Dios quiere/If God wants," we will likely be investigating and launching a campaign to replace our current vehicles with more reliable ones so that we can spend less time worrying about cars and more time doing what the Lord has called us here to do.

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