Saturday, September 8, 2012

September 8, 2012 - Jailhouse Rock

This past week has not been the best for me.  There were quite a few disappointments and inconveniences.  Nothing so serious - just a lot of small stuff that has left me exhausted and, more than once this week, feeling trapped.   In loose order of how they happened...

  • First I had 2 different infections and a pinched nerve in my neck.  That was last weekend.
  • Then my phone got stolen at the Goat Races, and by MY phone I mean: Kristoffer's official work phone (World Bank Property) that I use since he uses a non-work-issued Blackberry.  The World Bank requires a police report for stolen property, which lead to my first (and hopefully last) adventures at a Tanzania police station.  More on that below.  
  • When we were running out of luku (electricity) we went to input the code for the new luku I had purchased the week before (I thought Rose had already entered it, but I was wrong) and the code had expired.  So I had to buy more luku and find a way to get back the other 6-weeks-worth-of-luku that we lost. This meant I had to go to the luku headquarters (Tanesco...the government owned electric company) and wait in various lines with hundreds of other people before figuring out how to apply for the credit to be re-issued.  Thank God I brought Rose with me to help translate and keep me calm...and now we have to go back in another week to see if our appeal was approved.
  • I was about to start my online coursework for Scuba Diving Certification here (a 3-day practical course in the ocean is next week) when I discovered that because I have a pacemaker, I can't participate without getting me and my pacemaker cleared by my cardiologist.  Who is in Nairobi.  Which brings me to...
  • The World Bank is supposed to provide me with one non-emergency medical evacuation to Nairobi every year to have my pacemaker checked by my cardiologist there (because he is the closest one who can do it anyway!).  That is what we were told when Kristoffer was hired.  And I am due for a check in November so we inquired with the World Bank Medical Officer (who is also in Nairobi, actually) about the process.  She came back to us with a new response that the World Bank will only cover 80% of my airfare and nothing else for the trip to Nairobi.  But it can't be done in Dar so we will end up having to pay out of pocket for all the rest.  Awesome.
  • And now Noah is sick with a throat infection that kept him, me and Kristoffer awake for almost all of the night. For the third weekend in a row we spent the morning in the clinic (Grace had a similar infection 2 weeks ago, and last weekend was my turn).   
So.  I am exhausted and disappointed and homesick (and it doesn't help that my Dad has been sick and that my sister is having a baby on Monday!).  But at least there were some humorous moments in visiting the Police Station.

I also brought Rose with me on this adventure, because I wasn't sure how well the police speak English and I like the comfort of not being alone when I am so far out of my element.  Indeed, I was.  To give you a picture upon entering the police station:

There was a big counter behind which were 6-10 (at any given time) police officers of different ranks who were talking, yelling, shuffling piles upon piles of papers and ledger books.  Behind them were 2 jail cells: one for men and one for women.  From what I could hear and the little I could see, both cells were full of people and a lot of them were on their mobile phones.  It smelled like urine and the whole place was dirty. 

It took a long time before anyone acknowledged me, which was a little surprising since I could not have been more obvious.  But I did get a police officer to take my statement.  At one point he asked, "Why?" my cell phone was stolen, as if I had arranged it on purpose.  I think he was not of the Detective variety.  It took another long time for him to get all the details and write them down in the appropriate way ("the alleged crime took place at the alleged scene...") with a lot of help from Rose.  I think the statement ended up reading something about me taking my goats for a walk in a stroller when someone took the phone.  I of course agreed to everything he wrote because I don't really care - I just need something signed for the World Bank!  I also had to suppress a belly laugh when, after I explained that we had been with about two thousand strangers when the phone was stolen, he asked me with ALL seriousness, "Do you have a suspect?"  

I ended up not being able to get a copy of the police report that day and had to go back again yesterday.  After going through more rooms of papers and ledgers and people directing me different places, I finally found an officer who understood that I did not actually care about an investigation...I just need a piece of paper for the World Bank!  So we'll see if it is ready when I go back on Monday to collect my copy of the report.

And at least there were a couple of GOOD moments thrown in the mix of this week: we were finally accepted into the Dar es Salaam Yacht Club (that's a blog for another day), I had a nice morning visit with a new friend one day when the kids were at school, and there was a Back-to-School BBQ last night at the school which was very nice.

Here's hoping my stress level comes down a little bit next week.  There are no travel plans in the budget until December, so I have to hold on tight until then!


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