As many of you have been praying about our vehicle situation here is an update and stick around until the end because we need your vote!
Most parking lots catering to expatriates look something like this:
Full of the standard issue vehicles, Hard top Toyota Landcruisers. These vehicles just keep on going and are the African edition, built incredibly sturdy. This is what we were advised to get as well. All well and good until one starts to investigate the insanity obtaining vehicles here. We are talking over $90,000 for a 10 year old vehicle and, we haven't even been able to find one hard top to look at (We did see one Arabic version, built less hardy, but it was newer and at $120k, we had to walk away). Pictured on the right is a Toyota Prado. Commonly referred to as "sissy", yeah, no pressure here.
In general, vehicles are an incredible cost here for many reasons I cannot explain on a blog.
So, enter a friend serving in a very remote location talking to Jon about a…minibus. He drives a 4WDr Hard Top Landcruiser with a full front bull bar, a wench, large front spotlights and a snorkel and he convinced Jon that their next vehicle is going to be a minibus.
Toyota HiAces are public transport and they are popping up in remote locations all over this country.
I dragged my feet for awhile, I am very apprehensive about losing the 4-wheel drive capability. We did lists of pros and cons.
A photo of a HiAce
Toyota HiAce (Minibus):
-Brand new $40k
-We may get stuck in the mud but we can get pushed or pulled out. There may be certain times of year when certain routes are not possible.
-Can seat twelve people and have plenty of inside storage
-Rack on top can fit more stuff
-We can start a taxi business on our free days. ;)
-Have to wait 5-6 months for the vehicle to arrive (used Toyota HiAce on the lots cost MORE than a new one because you don't have to wait).
-Hold their value dollar for dollar better than all other vehicles.
-It's big, small front end but LONG back.
-Umm…we can't find ONE available in our price range under $90k
-We won't get stuck in the mud because of our 4 wheel drive-may get stuck because of engine troubles as 10+ year engines have issues
-Depending on seating, can usually fit around 8 people but leaves room for only a bit of inside storage, rack on top adds
-It's so cool looking, what I think "real" missionaries in Ethiopia should drive.
-With a snorkel, can cross rivers
-Hold their value pretty well
Can you guess what we chose?
Yep, we are going to be proud owners of a MINIBUS. A big white one. Yeah, umm, so try to contain your jealousy. We are the first "down country" family within our organization to try a non-4wheel drive and I guess if it goes well, others may follow suit and if our experience is poor, everyone will battle it out for Landcruisers.
And we are now waiting for it to arrive for the next five months.
Now for the vote:
I was feeling pretty neutral about the whole thing but glad a decision was made. Until I looked over in traffic and saw this. "Eek! Jon, can we paint our van like that?!" He actually thought it was a great idea.
Having a giant zebra van may hurt the resale but it would be super-fun.
What do you think? May your opinion be known in the side bar.