The suburb we’re house hunting in at the moment is about an hour from our current place. Today I had a window of 3.5 hours between needing to pick up children. I figured 2 for travel up and back, left me 1.5 to see some places. After all, they were all within a few kms of each other.
Here’s how it unfolded.
10:30am – arrive at meeting place to see the agent; send message, he says he’s on the way.
10:45am – receive call from agent; he has arrived. I cannot see him.
11am – still no sign of agent
11:15 – agent arrives. Apparently when he said he’d arrived he was around the corner on a boda boda (motorbike taxi) which promptly broke down.
11:20 – on our way to the first place. As I drive, the agent is on the phone asking his contacts if they have properties that fit my description. I have given him our requirements on two separate occasions in the past weeks.
11:25 – arrive at the first place. It’s locked. Go up the road to speak to some people who might know the person who has the key.
11:30 – get phone number from those guys. Agent calls the groundsman who has the key. Turns out he is not inside. Agent negotiates at length with him to get him to come and unlock the gate for us.
11:50 – groundsman arrives and let us in. This yard is not at all what I requested in my communication with the agent. The groundsman does not have the keys to the house so we can’t look inside. Agent offers to me to call someone else who does have keys and we can wait for them, but I am ready to move on.
11:55 – we go to pick up the agent’s friend, who has another property we can see. Agent gets himself some BBQd maize to eat while we wait for the friend. I message Arthur and tell him there’s no way I’m going to back in time to do the pick ups at 1pm.
12:30 – agent’s friend arrives. Car, which has been idling, will not move forward in either drive or low gear, just revs.
12:35 – call Arthur for some diagnostics. Turns out the 4WD gear stick had been accidentally knocked by the agent when he turned around to speak to his friend. On our way again.
12:40 – arrive second house, where a similar scene plays out to the first…
…and on it went!
In the end, the 1.5 hours I was hoping for was 3.5, but my total time being inside actual compounds was less than 30mins.
I could be exasperated, but really, I’ve lived in Tanzania long enough that I should have known better than to think it would be straightforward.
Tamie Davis is an Aussie living in Tanzania, writing at meetjesusatuni.com.