Thursday, January 13, 2011

The 2nd Biggest, Longest, Run Around Of My Life

Tonight, I have a headache from tension....  I used to have lots of headaches, however it is rare since I moved to Honduras that I get one.  But tonight is one of those rare occasions.  Before you read this you will need to read the definitions, to understand what is going on.  And you must also remember the LONG LINES every time you go to get your driver's license or your car plate renewed on the last day of the month... then you will begin to have an idea of what I went through today.

Gobernacion - where you get and keep you immigration and residency documents updated if you live in Honduras
Franquisias - the people who supposedly keep track of anything financial pertaining to residents
Constancia - a document stating whatever it is you need stated, signed by someone who supposedly has the authority to sign it
Downtown Tegucigalpa - narrow streets, taxis parked or stopping where ever, buses backing up to jockey around corners, people hitting you with their shoulders as they push past you on the narrow sidewalks, cars parked on curbs, terrible traffic, car exhaust 
DEI - Internal Revenue Service
ADUANAS - Honduran customs service
Mordidas - bribes paid to government employees who won't do the work they are paid to do unless someone pays them something which they don't deserve but they want because you are a rich gringo, whether you have a dime in your pocket or not

Gobernacion sent me to Franquisias for a Constancia, I went yesterday and Franquisias said I needed to also bring in a copy of my residency card which I did not have with me.... but today when I went back to downtown Tegucigalpa with the other papers, they said they are not responsible to give me the paper I need, so Franquisias sent me to DEI, but DEI said they don't do what I need so they called ADUANAS, who hung up on them 2 times and finally they sent me to Franquisias AGAIN, but with a note stating that DEI does not do the constancia which I needed.  Now in Franquisias for the 3rd time in 2 days, where the people said, "they don't do the paperwork I need without a letter from Gobernation", who cannot give me the note I need, "until I get the note from Franquisia", so they tried to send me to Gobernacion again so I told them I want it "IN WRITING" which they refused to give me, but I insisted and when they saw that I was not going to give up, now 3 hours after my original encounter with them, they suddenly decided maybe they could do it after all but I needed more paperwork that I didn't have with me... although yesterday they told me what to bring to them, before they said today that they didn't do what they said yesterday they would be happy to do, if I just brought the one missing paper in order for them to do it... So now they need one more paper, which involves paying parking again... crawling through traffic again... getting the paper... crawling through traffic to return...

I did, by the way, have with me the government issued card (which they asked for yesterday) with the same information on it that they said they needed on the other piece of paper which they were asking for today, which they did not ask me to bring yesterday... so I told them to put it in writing that this was the last piece of paper that they needed to do the paper and they refused... "there is no need to have it in writing", they promised to take care of me, "just bring in the last paper"....

By this time over 3 hours and 2 days and 3 trips later, I lost my cool, and who can imagine why?  I told them I don't pay "mordidas" (bribes)... To which they looked offended and said, "But we didn't ask for a mordida!" But it was obvious to me that that is what they wanted, since Gobernacion, DEI, Aduanas, my attorney and the paper I have from Gobernacion, as well as they said yesterday that "they do it", ALL say that "they" are the ones who write the Constancia. So what I am supposed to think?  Hondurans have a saying, "The monkey dances for the one who pays him."

SO I sent my attorney in this afternoon and they told him they would "take the paperwork", but I was "mad" when I talked to them, and they really "don't do" what I am asking them to do, but I have in my hand a paper from Gobernacion saying that this is one of the notes I need from Franquisia.....  

The longest run-around of my life took place about 15 years ago, when I went to Puerto Cortez, Honduras to take out of customs 14,000 pair of used eyeglasses which I was donating to the Lions Clubs in Tegucigalpa to give to poor people in their eye clinics.  The man who had to sign the papers insisted that I give him $400 with NO receipt to take the glasses out of Customs and I refused for 2 days.  Finally I told the guard who was assigned to me to bring me a can of gasoline and a box of matches....  When he turned to go get them the man asked what I was going to do... The guard answered, "I think she is going to burn the glasses where you can't steal them."  To which I responded, "And when the ashes are there I am going to call the newspapers where they can take photos and make a report." To which he responded, "Take your stupid eyeglasses and get out of here and I never want to see you again."  I left with my eyeglasses and didn't pay his "MORDIDA".  

So if you still wonder why I have a tension headache... You need to join me in Honduras to get some necessary paperwork done sometime...  Do not pray for me for patience... "Tribulation works patience" or so the Bible says and I don't want anymore tribulation!!!  And almost 4 hours of patience, you must admit is a lot for anyone....

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