I have a bicycle here in Nampula, Mozambique, but I haven’t been riding it because I needed to register it, and carry this registration in case the police stopped me. First, I had to come up with a receipt that would prove the bicycle was mine and that I wasn’t trying to register a stolen bicycle. I went to the municipal building where everyone said to go to start the process. From there, I was directed to a different place and told to come back once I was ready to pay. I went to where I thought they had sent me and then was told to go back to where I started. Are you lost yet? Me too! Finally, I figured out where to go to fill out the application. The man there said he needed to see the bicycle to complete the paperwork. An hour later I returned with the bike, and he wrote down the make and model number. He gave me a ticket and sent me back to the first place. Another form was filled out, and my bike was checked again. After everything was in order, I went to the cashier to pay, got my receipt, and returned to the other office. Once the man confirmed I had paid, he told me to come back in a week for the completed registration. After a few tries, I finally received my registration booklet. I am now a legal cyclist… until January, when I have to renew my registration.
Language barriers, differences in culture, and just not knowing the system, can easily cause frustration. Inevitably I start to mumble, “In America we would never have to…” But that doesn’t matter because God called me to be here. I have to learn to be content in whatever situation He has put me in. When things get challenging, our wise program manager puts things in perspective. He says, “If it were easy to live here, MAF wouldn’t be here.”