Here's our update....
US Embassy Auction:
This morning we headed to the US Embassy Auction. As you remember, I had my hopes pinned on a filing cabinet. The filing cabinet that I was looking at was in LOT 46, so there was quite a bit to be auctioned befroe it got to me. Of course, we're in Africa where you are always hurrying up just to wait, and today was no exception. On thing that slowed the whole process down was that, after they would sell off one LOT, they wanted to make sure that the person who won the bid actually had the money, so they would stop between each LOT to wait for the person to go to the "caisse" (cashier), pay the price they bid, as well as the 20% customs fee.
Arnie, the C&MA's business manager, purchased alot of things for the Bongolo Hospital since they are expanding their campus' housing. It was interesting that, when Arnie would bid, the auctionneer, a Gabonese man, would seem to change his process to allow bidding longer. Also, it seemed that more people would get in on the bidding- this was either to drive the price up or because they may have sensed that the items were of more value since an American was in on the bidding. Arnie got frustrated at this, however, the rest of us were getting a kick out of Arnie. By the way, he's a great guy to have represent you at an auction. I say this after he successfully bid and won on the filing cabinet that I desired!!! YES!!! It was only 25,000.... Central African Francs. This works out to about $55 US dollars for a 4 drawer filing cabinet (vertical), a simple desk (suitable for card games and/or staring contests for 4 people), and a chair. Not bad.
Alace had her eye on a set of high backed chairs and a small, round table, however, we set our budget and when the bidding went past our mark, we sadly gave up hope.
By the time that the auction passed LOT 49 (with about 40 more lots to go), it was time for lunch. The auction continued, however, all in our group took a break for lunch. On the way back to our neighborhood, we encountered traffic and had to turn back toward the airport. Just a minute later, I got a cell phone call from Egmont, a German pilot (and believer) who flies for an agricultural company out of the Libreville international airport. He asked me what I was doing at the moment. Well, to make a long story short, I was dropped off at the airport, had lunch at the "Aero Club", and soon after was buzzing around the skies with Egmont in his company's Beechcraft Baron!!! It was the first time that I had flown in over a year! It was only a 45 minute flight, but Egmont let me have the controls after takeoff until short final. Being a little rusty, I thought he should fly.
So, this afternoon, I've been on cloud 9. Egmont would like me to fly with him as much as possible until we get our own airplane. Then, when he goes on vacation, I'll be able to be his fill in pilot. His company will "grease the gears" with the Gabonese government so that I can get my Gabonese flight permits and use thier aircraft for a checkout with an FAA check pilot who travels around Africa checking guys out. Very nice. I'm hoping they will build a hangar at the airport and let me use some room in it down the road.
Well, the kids are doing great... a lot of playing with the Solvig girls. Joey said, before we got here, that he wasn't going to let himself get too close to the Solvig family knowing that they are leaving in May '09. Well... it's too late for that! They get along great and are doing really well with homeschooling.
That's the update for now!