A few months ago the MAF Vehicle Garage was abuzz with excitement over a new shipment. Even Rob struggled to sleep the evening the transport truck made it to Tana after that long 3 month journey from England where it departed from.
Within this shipment was a whole pile of donated tools, toolboxes, and other equipment from a vehicle shop that had closed its doors. As well as a brand new 4000kg vehicle lift that was donated. The guys here are so thankful for these!
The vehicle maintenance garage that MAF runs in Madagascar is helping keep other missionaries' and NGO workers' vehicles in good repair. Some missionaries require their vehicles to be fixed after every trip to the bush. The driving conditions here are just so poor, it's difficult to describe. Even here in Tana, some of the roads leading to churches or even homes are so rough and narrow, that vehicle maintenance is not something that can be put off. There isn't a shortage of shops around the city, but the type of maintenance being done in these roadside shops is less than desirable, to be sure. You never know what part might have been swapped out during your visit, and because of the difficulty to source parts in this country, many things have to be "bricolaged" (as we say). This is basically the french word used for "crafts" or "designed" (in the context of creating crafts). When Rob inspects cars that have had maintenance done at roadside shops, or even other shops you would think are better, he is shocked at the repairs he has discovered. Much of the time this is due to poor tooling and the lack of replacement parts resources--not to mention trying to save money and doing a job for as little as possible.