Sunday, October 15, 2006

Tailights

Is there a spiritual significance to taillights? More specifically, to them being stolen off the same car, twice in one week, in two different locations 15 kilometers apart?

This is the question that, believe it or not, keeps tugging at my mind this week. Because . . . last Thursday night, during church, the two rear tailights and the front side light were stolen off of my car. They also tried to break into the rear hatchback lock, only succeeding in preventing me from ever being able to use it again. (But I count my blessings that they didn't get in, and I can always climb over the back seat to unlock the rear door!) Amazingly, I was able to get the lights replaced on Monday morning in only two hours time - oh, if you only knew what a true miracle that is! A driver went with me and dropped me at the local ShopRite so he could get the non-mulungu (white person) price. So about a hundred bucks later (that's US dollars) I was street-ready again.

The next Thursday night, I spent in the city at my friend's house while she was in South Africa. The next morning, as I entered the gated, guarded carport, my mouth dropped open to see my two rear lights gone! Again! I think I must have stood there for at least two minutes, just trying to take it in. They didn't steal the front lights but instead, this time, stole the side view mirrors. It is incredibly hard to drive in Mozambique without side view mirrors as I am frequently inching my way past pulled over chapas, carts, pedestrians, potholes, etc!

Anyway, I confess to a brief cry on my drive back home, but while doing so, got a call from Felipe, one of our staff, to say they found my lights that had been stolen the previous week! I was so confused, and so was he when I explained they had been stolen again. His comment - "Eppa!" The previous week, they had been stolen in the center, by a boy who lived here before. They caught him trying again, took him to the police who went to his house (after giving him his punishment - a beating) and found my old lights there. So, the bright side is, I didn't have to pay again for new lights, they were recovered in time to put the old ones back on. But it still leaves me puzzling over my lights being stolen two Thursdays in a row, when in two years of having the car only my radio was stolen once, two years ago, when the car was left unlocked in the city. Anyway, I did have to buy new mirrors, to the tune of another almost hundred bucks, BUT - they too were replaced in about two hours. I wish I could do everything (buy paint, register my car, buy honey, take a child's passport photo, etc., etc.) with this mechanic! By the way, the two places my lights/mirrors were stolen are about 15 kilometers from each other and the one who stole them first was being caught stealing 15 kilometers away when they were being stolen the second time, so it's not the same person. Did you follow that? I know, it's confusing. Hmmm, I'm still wondering if there's some message there!

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