ZamLife: a Zambian DMV!

Carol, here again to share with you a little story about a Zambian DMV.

January has been another interesting month. (Every day is an adventure here.) But this story is about a simple task turned complicated:

It starts with a man named Sandy.  Sandy is one of the members of the Love Abounds crew, he is our main translator at church on Sundays, and he recently started attending Rhema Bible College this month.

There was one problem with Sandy going to Bible College - he lives in the village, the school is an hour away in West Lusaka.  For us to take him back and forth to school every day was not practical in any way.  Thankfully, Love Abounds has a motorbike that Sandy can use to get back and forth to school.  But in order to drive the motorbike, Sandy needed his driver's license. 

You know in the states, it’s fairly easy to get your driver's license renewed.  I was even able to renew my U.S license online living here in Zambia.  But, getting your license or having it renewed in Zambia is an ordeal.  There’s usually between 100- 200 people every day waiting in line at the driver's license office.

Sandy practices driving his bike!

Sandy practices driving his bike!

In order to not have to wait in line for 2 days, you have to know someone who knows someone, etc… and YES!, we DO know someone who knows someone!!! But even STILL the wait was 8 HOURS or a whole working day

So, we take Sandy to get his license renewed.  We dropped him and our “someone” that knows someone” and were to come back in about an hour!  "An hour?" we thought to ourselves.... I guess our "Someone" is really starting to know more someones! We come back an hour later - I asked Sandy if he got his license.  He said he did but he had to come back after 1:00 to get the actual license because there was a problem with the printer. Of course there is!

We kill 3 hours and go back to the office after lunch (In Zambia, all offices close for lunch, no one left working to answer questions or anything). Sandy goes to get his license and comes right back and says they told him to come back before 5:00.   Something was still wrong with the printer, but what’s the  problem??  The one and only printer for the whole driver license office in the district…. RAN OUT OF INK!

I immediately start asking questions:

  • Q: Why couldn't they get the cartridge before lunch? A: they couldn’t go get a cartridge before lunch because they may not get back in time for lunch
  • Q: Okay, what about picking up the cartridge on your way back from lunch?? A: oh no, that would be considered working on their lunch break and they can’t do that. Any supplies they need they have to go after 2:00 to get them - no matter when they need them!

Finally around 4:30 Sandy got his physical license!  and that is with us knowing someone who knows someone!

I love me some Zambia and its certainly never boring!  Until our next crazy adventure... 


Bethany MorganComment