December 05, 2009

Zen & Art of Dealing with Government Institutions

I’ve been quite proud of my Zen-like disposition today.
This morning I was supposed to pick up 1) my long-awaited son’s Arabic Exemption paper (Courtesy of the Ministry of Education), 2) the Arabic equivalency of my Dutch BA (Courtesy of the Ministry of Education) and 3) renew the work permit of my housekeeper (Courtesy of the Ministry of Labor).

Needless to say I returned home empty-handed. Totally empty-handed!

The Arabic exemption paper can only be picked up Monday through Thursday. “It clearly states on the paper,” said the lady on the 2nd floor of the Ministry of Education. Well, that’s in Arabic, but I only have to blame myself.

The equivalency paper could not be processed because the fax number I had given of my Dutch university was not working. That is a bit of a story as well. The head of the Exams Committee of my university had to take a stroll through the admin building in order to find a fax machine. “You guys are still using fax machines?” he asked me in surprise, when I asked him for a fax number. But apparently the one he gave me was no longer in order, and now we will try it through e-mail. “But then you have to wait for the secretary of the boss to come back,” says the lady of the Equivalency Desk. “The boss can do the fax himself, but for e-mail he needs the secretary.” Need I say more?

And the work papers? “Oh, you have to go through Liban Post,” answered the gentleman at the desk of the Ministry of Labor when I asked him how to go about renewing her work permit. LibanPost, eh? Well sure, why not. However, they close at 1:00, and so I went home.

At no point in time did I raise my voice, sigh, roll my eyes or be impolite in some other non-verbal way. You should have seen me; I was Zen aaaaaaaaall over!

This picture is unrelated to this post. I took it some time ago in Bourj Abu-Haidar, a neighborhood wedged in somewhere between Mar Elias and another neighborhood which name escapes me now. It is a home-made solution to someone in that alley that is obviously a wheelchair occupant.

18 comments:

Miss Footloose said...

You should be proud of yourself indeed. In West Africa there's a term for situations like the one you describe. It's called WAWA - West Africa Wins Again. You say it, roll your eyes and shrug your shoulders. If you cannot learn this, you should go home ;)

About the unrelated photo: reminds me of the alleys of the Muslim Quarter in the Old City of Jerusalem. Lots of steps up and down, but with the straight sections built in. Not for wheelchairs, but for delivery carts.

Good luck getting your papers!

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