Picking up the paperwork

Michelle Royce wrote this report of Zambian procedures recently as they prepare to work with Flying Mission in that country :

‘Jeff and I have been told to “budget two days at least” to get our drivers licenses in Zambia.  Brighton, Gabriele’s husband who grew up in Lusaka, needed to renew his licence so we were all going to go together.

Before we left we stood with a few of the other FM folks at the office and prayed and asked for God’s favour and help and one of the missionaries declared: “He goes before us and behind us and enables us to do what He’s called us to do.”

Armed with many documents copied in triplicate we headed for the Zambian University Training Hospital (UTH). Why the hospital? The first thing we had to do was get a medical examination to show that we were fit to drive. When we got to UTH it was a mad house and there was nowhere to park. Brighton approached the guard in front of the staff parking and asked him if we could just park for a little while. The guard politely said “No” but then he said we could put the car on the pavement behind his little guard house, which we did. 

We found the place for the examinations and went inside. Luckily the queue (line) was not that long and it helped that Brighton knew one of the guys working there. We were called into the nurse’s office where she took our blood pressure and starting filling in our forms. One of the older nurses gave Brighton and Jeff an exhortation to be kind to their wives and remain with them! Then we had an eye test. We stood 6 metres (20 feet) from a typical letter chart (and under the chart was a patient lying on a hospital bed hooked up to an I.V. It was near the door so maybe it was nice for the breeze…) Then we went to see the doctor who did a quick check up and signed our paper and we were done. It cost about 13 dollars each.

We drove over to the Road Safety building and entered the office where we were directed to the right spot, but the lady in charge of getting files put together was not there. (Remember the saying,The (wo)man with the key is gone?) One of the guards directed us from Room 1 to Room 5, to a man who was filling in for the lady (we found out later she was attending a funeral). He was very helpful and explained that this wasn’t his normal job. We think this was in our favour since one of the required documents is a letter from your home country stating that your existing licence is valid. In the States licences are used to validate other things! We had just changed licences to another state and, when they mailed us new cards, there had been attached to them a document stating that they were valid! We came with this unusual document and thankfully the temporary guy seemed to be happy with it.

Now that we had our packets we returned to Room 1 for the information to be entered into the system. Once we were done there it was back to Room 5 then to Room 12 to pay some fees. This is where we got stuck. We waited a long time there and were afraid we wouldn’t get done before lunch. But we did it, whilst practising our nyanja language with those in line with us.

After lunch it was back to Room 5 where a man wrote on our documents light drivers testSo that meant we should go across the street to take a driving test, which was simply to drive around the block. We rented a manual gear car to do it and off we went. Ladies first, followed by Jeff. Would you believe that the first of the rains began whilst we were doing the test? But we passed. Then it was on to Room 14, which meant that we would be issued with our new licences. We paid the bill right at 5pm, the end of the day. Quite an achievement, by all accounts.’

So now, by grace, the Royces are ready to do what God has called them to do! Exciting times.