Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Turns out I'm also a mechanic

I have a funny story from yesterday what I want to share. Those of you who have never been to Uganda may have a harder time picturing it but I’m going to try. The back ground is this. For the past few days I’ve haven’t been able to start my truck in the morning. The mechanic has been working on it and dropped it back off to me Monday night but Tuesday morning it wouldn’t start again. Beckie and I needed to pick up some visitors in Jinja (a rough 4 hour drive away) and it didn’t seem like a good thing to have the truck not starting. It took some time but is finally determined (thanks Dad!!!)  that BOTH of the batteries were bad. So I got it running with a jump from team mates (Thanks Jim and Collin!!) and headed into to town with Steve and Tanya’s oldest boy (to sit in the truck while I leave it running until I find the shop that has the batteries that I needed) and we finally managed to find someone who had. So I turned the truck off in front of the shop and ordered two batteries. Here they have to add acid to the dry cells after you buy them and you have to wait while they outgas or whatever before you can use it. The guys asked me if I wanted them to call a mechanic to install. I said sure. But Bec and I needed to get on the road. So while I waited for the mechanic and the new batteries I started to disconnect the old ones. Still no mechanic. So I unattached them from their cradles and completely removed them. Still no mechanic. But the batteries were ready. So started to install the new ones. Now here is what you need to picture. I’m a white woman (in case you didn’t know) and women here, especially white ones, don’t do mechanical work. Ever.  I was right on one of the main streets of town, middle of the day. Wrenches, pliers, greasy hands, whole nine yards.  Lets just say I had a few people stop to tell me what to do, offer help, ask me what I’m doing, tell me they know someone who can do it, etc… But I ended up just needing to ignore most of them and telling the rest of them to leave me alone. The mechanic arrived shortly after I learned that battery #2’s poles were opposite the way the original battery was (positive on the right and negative on the left) so the positive attachment was a bit short so while he ran for bolts to attach the extension I wrapped the wires he brought in electrical tape and we eventually got it attached. And now it starts every time I turn the key! Amazing. But it turns out that my alternator may be bad and I may be looking at replacing it. I really hope not and I need a mechanic to confirm but I’m having trouble connecting with said mechanic. And I think I may chance it and see how long I can push it before I get stuck somewhere that I can’t get a jump and get really mad at myself for not fixing it before I got in trouble.

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