20 January 2012

Car shopping, round two...

One week ago today, I was on a mission. A mission to find a vehicle. A mission to put to good use all the generous gifts that our friends have given...a mission that morphed into a journey. A journey that's led me all over Port-au-Prince...a journey that may soon have an end...

Having grown up in a Toyota family, I knew where my first stop would be: the only Toyota dealer in the Caribbean. In typical Haiti fashion, the door you can see in this picture was closed for business...you had to go around the side. I walked into the showroom with a highly polished floor and cubicles hiding whatever employees might be hiding. I stood there for a minute. No one. This was feeling a lot like Monday (if you don't know what I'm talking about, read this post). I decided to be bold...I peeked into a cubicle and found an employee.

She asked me to sit down in French, and then asked if I preferred English. I started to breathe again. After a short conversation, I found out a few important facts:

1) They don't have any used cars. (Strike one.)
2) New cars take four to six months to order. (Strike two.)
3) I was $10,000 too poor to buy their cheapest car. (I'm out.)

I thanked the nice lady for her time. At least she didn't laugh in my face.

My second stop is unpictured...because I had to slam on my brakes to get into the gate. There were so many used cars in the parking lot that there was--wait for it--no parking lot. At least it was a good sign. Land Cruisers, Nissan Patrols, Suzuki Vitaras...but being imported from the Dominican Republic, they had a lot of miles on them. I passed.

Next was SunAuto...another very nice lady had some new Hyundai Tuscons to sell me, but no used cars. However, we were getting closer on the price...I was only $4,000 short. I took her card.

Then, on my way to my next appointment, I passed a rental car company, and remembering what a friend had told me, I stopped in. They had two cars for sale: a white pick up truck and a blue Mitsubishi Montero. Pick up trucks are kind of a liability here, because people will jump in the back for a free ride--whether you want them to or not. There's an American here who had someone jump into the back of his truck while it was moving...the Haitian guy lost his balance and fell out. He died. His family sued the American guy...and won. I passed on the pickup truck.

But the Montero looked good. Like, really good. The air conditioner worked. It was a manual transmission, which are easier to get parts for when I beat the snot out of this car on our bumpy roads. It's never been in an accident. It only has 42,000 miles on it, which isn't bad for a rental car here. And best of all, I could almost afford it...I sat in this office and waited to talk to someone who could give me more information.

I admit--I went to two other places after that, but my heart wasn't in it. I called David to see if he could come see it right then, but he was flying. (What's that? You say pilots are supposed to fly on work days? I suppose you have a point.) So I dragged myself home and brought him back on Saturday...

...and on Monday, I brought my boss back...

...and on Thursday, MAF headquarters started the money transfer...

It's happening, people. We're buying a car. And I'm really excited about it.

We haven't signed the papers yet, but we're this close...please pray for a happy ending to our car-buying story! 


  1. Exciting!!! I'm looking forward to the end of the story, and praying it will be a happy one!

  2. Praying that all those final details fall into place. Loves and hugs from us.

  3. Way to be persistent and track down all those leads! We're praying that God will smooth out all the details and give you guys a reliable vehicle! -Mark and Sarah

  4. David and Christine,

    Great news! Hope this comes together for you! Love and miss you guys!

    Daniel, Karen, and Sameayah