At 7.30 and after a good breakfast team Lipstick was eagerly awaiting the local mechanic to arrive and without fail soon thereafter he was present with tools and an assistance.
Lipstick was moved to a level gravel area inside the motels premises and the 2 mechanics started their work by lifting Lipsticks front wheel and removing the protection plate from the suspension struts.
Men at work inspecting the front suspension of Lipstick….
And then the real problem appeared – showing a cracked left hand wishbone with another very fine crack visible on the right hand wishbone.
These parts would obviously not be available in town so contact was made with the nearest Toyota agency some 180km away in a town called Huambo. Yes they have the parts in stock and could carry out the repairs but how could Lipstick get there.
A plan was made and another bush mechanic located in town who arrived with a portable welding machine and some metal pieces in order to reinforce the left hand wishbone in such a manner that the wheel would not be lost during the 180km drive to Huambo.
A flat bar was welded to the inside of the cracked wishbone arm to keep the team going…
The main fuel filter was also replaced and Lipstick could not reach normal rpm’s having a proper fuel supply.
All this was achieved by 10am and another phone call was made to Toyota in Huambo (by the motel staff as Portuguese was the language of the day)
On the road again but the team decided to limit the speed to under 100km/h in order to safeguard the broken wishbone as best as possible.
The road to Huambo led the team through the area where South Africa surrendered their efforts to march to Luanda way back in the eighties..
Lots of rocky mountains on the road to Huambo..
The last river which the SA troops crossed in the eighties-the Rio Nhaisouth of Quibala ….
Almost 3 hours later Huambo was reached which is a sizeable city and the first stops were at ATM machines to draw enough funds for the forthcoming repair work. Thereafter it took a while to find the Toyota dealer who is situated on the Huambo to Caala road in the industrial area. Unfortunately the team had to wait half an hour as the lunchtime would only stop at 13.30h and nobody would be willing to look at Lipsticks dilemma before that time.
A grim looking workshop foreman then wanted to know what the problem was and only after telling him (he could speak a little French) that contact with Mario from the stores department was made earlier in the day some actions was shown.
On inspection he suggested to replace both wishbones and yes they would also accept credit cards. He wrote out a job number and called one of the mechanics to proceed with the replacement and team Lipstick immediately handed over some Kwanzas(Angolanmoney) to the mechanic as well as the workshop manager in order to possibly speed things up a bit.
The problem was that the team needed to avoid being without a car and having to stay over in Huambo by using a taxi to find a rest place in town, whilst Lipstick would stay over in the workshop until repairs could be finalised.
Kindly enough (the Kwanzashelped) the team was offered to sit in the board room of this Toyota dealership and as it stands at the moment can update these daily reports.
For the past 5 days it was impossible to upload the reports to the web page as internet availability is either none existing or extremely slow disallowing any such uploads.
Surprisingly the workshop manager reported back with a big smile at 4 pm telling the team that both wishbones were replaced and that he checked the car and all would be fine.
After close to 200.000km of which 36.000 was driven through east and west coast of Africa Lipstick’s wishbones showed signs of tiredness……
At 4.30pm the team decided to hit the road and possibly make it to Lubango this night as the road seemed to be fully tarred and in good condition to tackle the 380km and bring the team back to target.
About 80km later however the tar road stopped after a town called Caala and the team was back on a triple F road which matched the worst so far seen. The team already set their mind to driving through to Lubango for the next 230km on this road and reach the town close to sunrise rather than turn back. The big advantage with driving at night in Africa is that there is very little traffic which is a big advantage especially on a dusty gravel road.
Great surprise however to the team as the gravel road changed to tar after some 80km on the exit side of a small village called Cusse and a beautiful tar road appeared inclusive of painted street lines and reflective light bulbs. This was great and soon Lipstick was back to triple digit speeds and Lubango was reached by 10.30pm.
A place of rest was found and after having a good night drink (restaurants to eat were already closed) the team fell into a well deserved sleep