Our trips to Nelspruit are usually good although when we arrived in Nelspruit last week to the following news headlines "Armed Robbers Plague Nelspruit", we knew we needed to be extra vigilant. Theft is fairly commonplace in these parts, but it's disconcerting when it gets worse. Those driving vehicles with Mozambican license plates are especially targeted. Figuring out the safest place to leave one's valuables while on a trip is quite the quandary since buildings/home are broken into, vehicles can be broken into or stolen entirely, and whatever you carry on your person can also be grabbed. But we do our best to stay alert while out doing business.
We had many stops planned this week and I actually took a photo at the one place. This is a vehicle spare parts place in downtown Nelspruit. Two of the mission's vehicles are taking extended time (months and months) off work as they await parts that cannot be found in Chimoio. We stepped into this particular shop with a sample of what we needed and hoped they'd have it. With the piles on top of piles of car parts though, I wondered how any particular part could ever be located. IF they in fact even had it.
What a wealth of treasures here...just depends on what you consider to be a treasure.
The main parts guy took one quick look at the part we needed, then disappeared outside for about 15 minutes while we stood and absorbed the sight (along with the associated smells). I have to admit I felt rather at home since my dad is a heavy-duty mechanic and all-around do-it-yourself kind of person. Car parts and grease are associated with fond memories of my growing up years and to this day I love mechanics' shops (and have been known to get stuck into the work myself when I can). I couldn't help but smile as I surveyed the scene.
Soon enough our man returned with exactly the part we needed. He even found the missing, specially sized, bolt. I was duly impressed.
Hopefully our vehicles will be too because we really need them working!
Below, I was standing watch (and taking photos) while Dwight looked for other part samples that needed replacing at the next shop.
It was a pretty busy and productive first few days. But even so, we took time out to celebrate the happy occasion of our 30th wedding anniversary. That's a treasure too.
Then came Thursday. We were loaded for a 2 day trip to Johannesburg but had about 4 stops to make first. At one of those stops, while we were both inside the shop, my laptop + other items in the bag (which was tucked out of view and covered with a sweater) was stolen from our vehicle. This happened in a secure parking lot with a guarded boom. We later learned that this company is robbed of an entire palette of floor tiles (about a ton?) from the parking lot every weekend.
Not a happy moment, but at the same point it could have been worse. Things could always be worse. So we remind ourselves to be thankful for where we are and what we have here and now. We carried on to Joburg to pick up leadership training books as well as other items, then returned to finish up what we could in preparation for our trip back to Mozambique. It has taken a considerable amount of time and effort to get a few things back on track again after the theft, but we've made good progress.
And so I will end this post with a photo of one of the smaller good moments of our week. This beautifully lit tree marks the entrance to the new wing at Riverside Mall.
Goodbye for this time. And remember to enjoy the good moments and treasures you have right here, right now.