Friday, October 19, 2012

Shout Out!!!

We would like to send a very appreciative shout out to George, Jono, and Joyce in Suriname.  Thank you so, so, so much!!!!!

Here is why:  As we may have mentioned, to keep the bike in Suriname for six months, we had to pay a deposit of approximately $900 through a customs broker.  It was a complicated, annoying, and at times painful, process.  When we left the country, we had to fill out the appropriate paperwork, mail a copy to the broker, and hope customs did their job.  It took about 4 months, but the deposit finally arrived to the customs broker.

The next step was to get the check deposited into Jill's Surinamese bank account.  That is where George and Jono came in.  George is the Country Director for Peace Corps Suriname and let us store the bike at his house while we were in country.  Jono is a Surinamese national that has worked with Peace Corps from the beginning of the program.  He loves motorcycles and actually bought an Africa Twin while we were there (did you get the fuel pump issue figured out, Jono?).  We had asked George if he could take the check to the bank and deposit it.  The bank acted like it would be no problem.  Jono went along to help if needed and because he is a local he understands how things work much better than Americans can, plus he speaks Dutch.  Turns out it wasn't as easy as the bank originally said it would be, so George and Jono had to spend a considerable amount of time convincing the bank to take the check.  It didn't help that the check had been made out to Michael Wayne and was even spelled incorrectly at that (note, Wayne is Mike's middle name).  Finally, George and Jono were able to get the check deposited.

Next, we needed the bank to transfer the money into Jill's US bank account.  She had been to the bank several times while we were still in Suriname to attempt to make the process easier, had given them a signed letter in advance, and had a solid contact there.  But, it was almost 5 months since she last had contact with the bank, so we hoped everything would work out.  That is where Joyce, the contact at the bank, came in.  Within a week of receiving the email from Jill asking her to transfer the money, it was in her US bank account.  This may not seem like that big of a deal, but Surinamese customer service is usually pretty primitive, to say the least, so to have someone follow through with no problems or hassles is nothing short of a miracle.

So, after never really expecting to receive the deposit back, we now (effectively) have an extra $900 to spend on the trip, which helps us out a lot.  (At least that's what we tell ourselves...)  Without George, Jono and Joyce's help, we would have never gotten the deposit back and that would have been a bummer.

Thanks again, guys!

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