One thing I have discovered while traveling in Mexico and the Congo is that people in those countries have learned to fix almost anything! My kids took a car trip to Mexico, and while there, fixed the old car they were driving to look like new. Here in the Congo they seem to have the same type of ingenuity.
The other day Emanuel cut the sidewall of one of his tires. It is common knowledge in the States that you CANNOT repair damage to the sidewall of a tire. Every tire I have ever damaged on the sidewall has just been tossed away. But not in the Congo~
We purchased a new tire and stopped to get it put on. While taking off the damaged tire the repairman wondered why we were putting a new tire on when the old tire was able to be repaired… I could not believe it, and asked how they did it. They said they sewed it together! This I had to see. So for $7 we repaired the damaged tire.
First they prepped the inside of the tire and placed a patch on it. It was not a normal tire repair patch, but much much thicker and stiffer. After it was molded and glued in place, the repairman began SEWING the tire where the split in the sidewall had been, just like you would sew a tear in fabric. He used heavy nylon cord and a heavy needle with a hook on the end to pull the cord through, also using motor oil to grease the cord and the needle.
After he was done sewing the tire together, he put another patch over the sewn part, using softer rubber, to seal the patch.
Quite amazing! And after seeing the work, I believe that it will actually work. We are using the repaired tire as a spare. Time will tell if it holds up, but you learn something new every day!