WORLD CUP BLOG: Life in South Africa is so frustrating.

Part four of Rotherham woman Hayley Roach's blog from South Africa.

Friday, June 18:

Today is a day off for me from the stadium and I am at home in Mafikeng. 

My jobs today were to go to AVIS car hire and go to the bank to change my last £50.

I cycled to AVIS office which is about 15 minutes each way.

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Since February of this year, I have been trying to apply to be a preferred customer as I must have spent close to £5,000 on car hire over the past year or so.

The preferred customer status gives me a variety of benefits.

I was first only told about this after almost a year of hiring cars which I did in February.

Since then I’ve been trying to contact AVIS with a view to finding out what’s happening. 

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Anyway, today I decided to cycle to the office here and find out.  It turns out that the fax number on the preferred customer application is wrong and there is now a new one which I have to resend the form to!

So I complete the form again and plead with the assistant to help me process this quickly as I’ve been trying unsuccessfully and I really need a car now. 

He says, quite matter-of-factly: “Yes it will be done fast, you will hear in two weeks!”

I shake my head and walk out. I get back on my bike and then cycle to the new shopping mall, which is now about 20 minutes away back towards where I live.

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I queue up in the bank for what seems like ages while a man behind me in the queue is shouting and complaining at the top of his voice about how ridiculous it is that there aren’t enough staff working at the service points.

Anyway, I get to the teller and hand over the pounds that I want changing with my passport. 

The teller says “Ah, so want to change 50 rands?” I explain “No, I want to change £50 pounds into rands.”

I can see he still looks confused so he calls over another colleague to assist him.

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Together they count the notes.  Another five minutes pass by and he says “Ah, 50 euros?”

“No"” I said, “It’s sterling.. British pounds.”  A few more minutes pass, in the meantime he is checking his mobile phone and I think proceeds to send a text message! 

Then he asks: “Is it United Kingdom pounds?” Hoorah! “Yes,” I said. “That’s it.” So eventually, I get my money, leave the bank, get back on my bike and cycle home.

Nothing here is straight forward or easy. Most things take twice as long as you would imagine and you have to a lot of patience.

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 I do get frustrated at times, with things like that and the AVIS issue. It took me all morning just to do those two things. 

I get home and switch on the TV to watch Germany v Serbia, and five minutes before the end of the match....there goes the electricity! 

I’m lucky I’ve still got a bit of battery power left on my laptop, but as I write this there is only four hours to go until England kick off . . .

I’m praying the electricity comes back on in time to watch it, but, to be honest, this is just an average day living here.  

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If anyone thinks they need a challenge in their life come and live in Africa!. And remember I live in the most developed of African countries.

I never really understood the term “a developing country” until I lived here and it is, it really is.

South Africa is a long way behind the first world and in many respects is a third world country.

It’s still developing, roads, electricity supply, water, rural villages still don’t have toilets and the urban townships face serious challenges of poverty, sickness (one in four people have HIV), there is along way to go here.

TOMORROW: it's just so cold!