01 02 03 Africa Expat Wives Club: The faulty cd player 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

The faulty cd player

A year ago, we bought my middle daughter a cd player for her bedroom. I was extremely organised and bought it from Argos in July to give for her birthday in November. Well done, a true expat thinks ahead and makes maximum use of shops during trips home.

– Which reminds me, this July I need to make sure I buy stocking fillers for Christmas, as my sister-in-law set rather an impressive precedent when she came to stay last year with a hugely generous load of funky sparkles, soaps, sweets etc. It might be hard to explain this year that Father Christmas is meaner (my sister-in-law isn’t coming) – though the credit crunch story could work?

Anyway – I put the cd player away for a few months (I think my daughter did spot it on one occasion, as I didn’t hide it very well!) then wrapped it for her birthday. The joy of opening the present and owning her very own cd player just like her sister, was spoiled a bit when the thing did not seem to work properly. It played a song for a while then skipped back to the beginning after a few minutes. I sort of ignored this problem and my daughter struggled along with her faulty present (no chance of taking it back to Argos from Kenya) – but after a few weeks it gave up entirely. It was a dud.

Stoic as usual – my daughter made no fuss and we all sort of forgot about it. The cd player was shifted to a high shelf. Finally I took it to the menders (took me only 6 months to get around to the chore). The wonderful thing about living here is that everything can be fixed – almost – and nothing goes to waste. I took the £14.99 cd player to a fundi who kept it for a couple of weeks. They changed the lens but found it then had that same problem of repeatedly stopping and skipping back to the beginning. After keeping me up to date with their progress via text, finally it was fixed. Apparently there was a ‘short’ on the ‘motherboard’ – presumably a fault since manufacture. The repair cost Kenya shs 1,500 (£13 ish).

Delighted, my daughter rushed to put in a cd, but then appeared from her bedroom downcast, saying that it was still not working. She said it worked a bit, but now not at all. We messed about with it in the kitchen, I called my husband over. I was cross because I was disappointed for her and angry with myself about the whole thing. We were going out so I tossed the machine into the car to take directly back to the repair man. I marched into his little offices in the basement of a 1960s building that smells of damp and said, ‘I’m sorry but it’s still not working!’
The repair man opened the top of the machine and looked inside.
‘This is a dvd madam. You know that in cd players, you can only play cds, not dvds’
I blushed and scuttled away apologising profusely...duh.

This morning my daughter proudly brought her cd player down to the kitchen at 6.30am just as I was waving off the eldest to school. I am not a mornings person. She then plugged it in and played ‘Mango Cocoa Jambo’ and ‘I am Josie Jump’ at full volume. I struggled, but couldn’t quite bring myself to be cross.

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