Now, I wouldn't want anyone to get jealous, but I hold a very important document, that many have sought and not everyone found. In addition to the all important passport, immunization records, visas, and other important paperwork from my days as a world traveler, I ALSO became one of the youngest people to obtain,,,,(drumroll please) a Zambian DRIVER"S LICENSE!!! Now, a Zambian driver's license was a prize that was fervently sought by all the missionaries who went to Zambia. There was a reciprocal agreement that a US driver's license was good enough to drive for two years, but after that, if you wanted to drive in the country, you had to have a ZAMBIAN driver's license. I heard many tales from other missionaries about their driving tests and how picky the instructors could be. For instance: if you stopped at a red light, you should engage your parking brake. Sounds crazy, right? It wasn't enough to put on your turn signal, you had to remember to use hand signals too. Any failure to "Hold your mouth just so" during the driving test meant that you failed and would have to schedule a retest.
Now, I lived in Zambia from 72 to 76, then 77 to 81, didn't return until 1983 for the summer break from college. During that summer (winter in Zambia) I began a pattern of helping Dad out by driving the truck into town for deliveries of this and that. Among other things, we supplied the local hospital with vegetables and eggs, the local teacher training college, and had ties with several of the local shopkeepers. We also hauled our corn into the local NamBoard (National Farmer's Co-op? I'm not sure there is an equivalent here in the states.) I went back to college in the fall semester, then returned to Zambia in 1984 and repeated the process. In 1985, I was at a loss for what I wanted to do. College didn't seem to be leading anywhere I wanted to go, and I was homesick. So I went back to Zambia in the summer (winter) of 1985 and stayed as long as I could, didn't leave till around March of 1986. During this time Dad told me I needed to start trying to get my driver's license, as he didn't want me getting into some sort of legal trouble. Technically, no one was paying me, even though I was working like a son-of-a-gun and enjoying every minute of it, so I didn't need a work visa, another fervently sought piece of paperwork.
So, I went into town and met with the driving instructor. He was quite pleasant when he found out who I was, and indicated that he had seen me driving the truck around town. After this acknowledgement he began talking about.....SUSPENDERS!.. and how much he would really appreciate a fine pair of suspenders, and how America must be home to many fine pairs of suspenders. I replied that there probably were quite a few, but I wasn't sure when I would be returning to America, and the mail was very uncertain between our two countries. He responded by saying he was sure I would do my best. I walked out of that office with a Driver's license in one hand and bewilderment in my head. He did eventually get his suspenders from me, so I suppose everyone got what they wanted.