Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Today we spent most of the day downtown trying to get a few things accomplished.
We often feel it is like a vortex. You never can just run downtown for one thing and expect to be done and in and out in no time. Knowing this, some days I handle it better than others.

Today was stressful though not as frustrating as last Tuesday when we set out to do 6 things and came home only having accomplished two and having run into several people at their jobs who simply did not want to help and had a bad attitude about it. The last stop last week was to the registrar to get Grace's birth certificate. That was the straw that broke the camels back and I was very upset and aggravated. James had gone once and was told we needed passport photos and so when I returned a week later with the same forms and the photos, she pilfered through the papers and then said, I didn't have a consent form from the orphanage and I needed to come back. I explained that the adoption was already completed and we just needed to get the birth certificate, no she said and then pretty much while I was still asking questions and telling her that social welfare completed all the papers needed, she turned away from me and started talking to someone else. That made me mad! I left in a hurry and for some reason this was more frustrating than any of the other things. I try to take it all in stride, knowing this is often how things are, but it got to me more that day. Who knows if she was waiting for a bribe as well.

Interesting enough I passed this sign today, Say NO to corruption. Anti-corruption day.

Last week, the customs lady at the post office, when we had already waited almost an hour for them to come to work since they were late, when asked to please help and get the other package said, "I will not be pushed to do this job!". This was after she mentioned to Kat that she was looking for a birthday present for her son. ( which also was conveniently said after kat opened her package and she saw there were some toys in there for the orphans. )

Today though, James accompanied me downtown. First attempt at the post office, I arrived at 12:15 and since they closed at 12:30 the one lady was retrieving the package numbers and customs counter closed to take their hour and a half lunch.
She came back and said I would have to come back at 2, since it was now lunch. ( even tho I had arrived before they closed)
We ended up staying downtown doing other errands and came back at 3:10. I was there until 4:00 at which point the customs lady had finished with her part and started closing and locking her counter while I was still waiting for the post office side of things. Time to get ready to go home.

Since I was waiting for some time, I started looking outside at the people and the pouring down rain. I had my phone and took some pictures of what was going on outside.

(and I apologize for the fuzziness but it is better than no picture)

Man with pink shower cap emptying boot.

A few of the street boys made their own foot bridge going over the huge puddles of water. The one boy was shouting out 500 pin. That's how much he charged to use his "bridge" ( about 15 cents)
It was very interesting to watch. Many people walked on it and got to the other side and paid. Some people used it and took off and did not pay. Other people would come up to it, thinking it was a good way to cross over and then upon hearing the charge would turn and look for another path. One lady even walked almost all the way across then found out she had to pay and walked back to where she had come from.

You can see the concrete blocks in the picture, and the boy in the green coat is collecting the money. He would follow the person back and forth whichever way they were coming from to get their money.
Sadly as I was watching him, he took out his plastic water bottle and was sniffing that, which is what they used to hold the glue and other substances that these street kids they get high on.

These people here decided to go ahead and walk through the water.

All day long we were in bumper to bumper traffic.
Now I need to clarify for my friends back in America. Bumper to bumper traffic means something totally different here.
It basically is every man for himself when you come to the intersections downtown where there is no roundabout or robot ( which is what stoplights are called). Every car tries to get their bumper in first and you end up with cars every which way and no one moving because of it. it happened at least 3 or 4 times today.
Just look at this picture....
We were going straightaway and the cars crossing where all wanting to get in as well. Everyone got stuck and then had to back up or wait for the other one to move a tiny bit so you could move up or back so traffic could flow again.

Heading home, one of the main roundabouts was at a standstill which then had every road entering into the roundabout at a standstill for quite some time. James looked over at the 2 lane road we were on ( with a filter lane to merge into it) and there were 5 lanes of traffic going one way. 5 ! no wonder when we came up to the roundabout we were at a standstill.
This mini bus driver ( and they are notorious for their driving) cut in front of us, interesting sign on his bus. Not quite matching up with his driving.

Last week as Kat and I were driving home frustrated, I told her, you can try to explain this to people back home, but unless they have been here and living here and experiencing this they really have no idea. As much as they might like to try and relate--"I know the other day I tried to find something at Kroger and they didn't have it, so I had to go to Walmart too, the one in Shelbyville where you always have to wait in line at the checkout, like 10 minutes I am just standing there in line to buy my things. " ( the things I might add, bought at a ridiculously low price compared to the same thing here but worse quality)

I know it well, waiting in line with all the kids for 10 minutes because they never had enough workers, was something I literally called the manager about one day driving home from Walmart. I just had to tell him and he had to know!

Wow... things change!
I must remember to pray specifically before I go downtown and not just for things to go smoothly, but for a good attitude when they don't, because more often than not they don't. TIA.

1 comment:

  1. Megan, thank you so much for your efforts on Kat's behalf at customs! I can only imagine what joy she felt when she came home to her packages. I am now very nervous about her driving into the city! I don't know how you do it.