We’re excited to announce that we are the proud owners for a ‘new to us’ mini van – a 2005 Toyota Alphard. It’s a Japanese manufactured car, so the owners manual is in Japanese. Due to his love of manuals, Phil may be motivated to learn a bit of Japanese. Or just use Google translate as needed.
Purchasing a vehicle in a foreign country is just, well, foreign! The process involves many factors that we’re just not familiar with. One of those things is a log book, which is actually a single sheet of paper. Each car has one, and it’s super important that the log book is correct. If one has never seen a log book, how does one know if it’s correct? Mmm. Understanding the process of bargaining for a good price is essential to the process. The car prices here are just so much higher than we are used to – we just had to gulp and take the plunge. Also important is asking the right questions about mileage, how many seats the car is rated for, was it in any accidents, or has it been painted a different color. Then we have to consider if parts are readily available or not. Some of the newer-to-Kenya models are very difficult to find parts for. There is no NAPA store down the street. My brain hurts looking at cars in the States – the process here puts me in coma!
It was with gratitude and humility that we turned to a friend, David Livingstone, for help. He is the director of the AIM guest house here in Nairobi (Mayfield). He enjoys helping people find just the right car – and his resources are extensive. He did the bargaining with the owner, he checked the log book, he took it for the first test drive, he arranged for Phil to be able to test drive it, he asked all the right questions, he had his own mechanic check it out, he had the insurance required safety switch installed, he got the tires changed (there is no super tire change center), he did all the paperwork…you get the picture! What a blessing to have his help in navigating this process.
Now this shiny silver van sits outside our gate. It’s got lots of leg room for the older boys, space for luggage, seats for 8 people (hint hint, come visit us!), a working radio (essential when sitting in traffic!), a back up camera and side sensors that beep when you get too close to something. It doesn’t have a roof rack, and it doesn’t have great ground clearance (which could be interesting with all the wicked speed bumps and pot holes in town). But we are at peace with this vehicle and know it’s the right one for us at this time. We feel so grateful to each one who gave to the vehicle fund project! Thank you!
The owners of our rental car arrive back in Nairobi in just a few days, so the timing is perfect! Isn’t that like our God? As we close the page on our car rental chapter, we look forward to helping others navigate the vehicle search. Phil has Livingstone on speed dial.