Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Paying for Your Education

I sure was glad I was sitting down when I received the repair estimate for the air conditioning in our truck!

Remember my bonehead move a couple of weeks ago when I let an inexperienced yahoo try to recharge the system? And that the A/C hasn’t worked since? Well, I decided that the best place to get this looked after properly would be at a Nissan dealer. So that’s where I was. Sitting in air-conditioned comfort in the waiting room. After over an hour of driving around in the heat and exhaust fumes of downtown Ouaga trying to find the dealership on an out-of-the-way back street, the cooler temps were a real blessing! But that’s where the good news ended.

The first thing they told me was that there was no freon gas left in the system. I wonder how the yahoo managed that? Several hours later, they told me that the compressor was shot. Now even I know that’s bad news! This was gonna be expensive… Okay, guess how much? I’ll bet you’re no closer than I was… 7,000 bucks! That’s how much it was going to cost to fix my system!!! In fact, they were just going to replace the entire thing, compressor, condenser, radiator, hoses, belts, and all! Ouch!!!

Well, we don’t have that kind of money, so I simply paid the $85 diagnostic fee and started home, wondering what in the world I was going to do. We were going to need A/C, especially during the hot season next year. And we had a day-long trip to the village coming up on Saturday…

Suddenly I remembered Zana! This was a mechanic I’d gotten to know during our first years in Burkina, a man of integrity who’d always done a good job on our vehicle for a reasonable price. In fact, I was right in his area! So I dropped in to see him. It was like old home week! After all the back slapping and laughing and catching up on each other’s lives, I mentioned my A/C problem to him. “I know just the man for this job,” he said. “It took me years to find someone who knew what they were doing in A/C and guaranteed their work. If anyone can fix it, this man can.” Wow! This was the first hopeful news I’d had in ages!

Zana said he’d look after everything, so I left the truck with him. The next afternoon, I got a call. “I’ve got an estimate for you,” he said. “The compressor is indeed shot, and a few hoses need replacing. Total cost is just under $700.” I thought about it for all of two seconds. “Do it,” I replied.

Now there are two Canadians driving around Ouaga, grinning from ear to ear as they bask in the blast of frigid air from the dashboard vents, and pretending they’re enjoying a cool fall day in Ontario. Who, us? Homesick? Naw…

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