Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Police Came to Visit

The day after I submitted our police clearance certificate application, someone from the wrong police station called and said they’d received our application, but since it was the wrong station, they were forwarding it to the right one.  That was a week ago and we hadn’t heard anything.  So this afternoon I called today to the main station and asked them what the status of our application was.  The man quickly informed me it had been forwarded to the right station, and I should go there and check.  
So I went there. : )  The officer at the front desk listened, made a phone call, then said, “Here is your constable’s number.  Go home, call him and tell him you’ve reached, and he’ll come.”  Well, okay!
So I came home and called.  He said he was arriving in five minutes.  So we scrambled to pick the house up, get the kids a bit settled, and waited to see what was going to happen. Oh, and I put on some chai. : )

So they arrived, two of them.  They were really nice, but barely sat down before they said, “Can you take us to see the neighbors?”  So I walked them down and they rang the bell.  I wasn’t sure if I should stay or not.  But they went into our neighbors house and sat down, and started asking them questions.  They were there quite awhile.  Then they needed to talk to another neighbor.  So we went across the hall.  Same thing, same questions.  You know what’s amazing?  It was Friday afternoon at 4, and both of these neighbors, and their husbands were at home!  (Because of course, only the husbands could sign the papers).  Can you believe it?  God... only God. 
So after the visit with the neighbors they came back and told us they needed copies of all the kids birth certificates, our passports, and our lease.  All things we had on hand and could copy  on our printer.  (There were a few other logical things they could have asked for that would have presented a problem, but they didn’t ask for those things).  Again, only God. 
While Paul was making all the copies, one of them was sitting on the floor in the living room with Levi, just playing and smiling, while the other one talked to me about his children and wife.  They were both incredibly nice, friendly, and just at ease.  No pretensions, no power trips, no desire to take advantage of us in our “need” and their ability to frustrate.  They only seemed like they wanted to help.  So refreshing. 
Once Paul had all the copies, they looked over them, made sure everything was in order, then said, “Okay, thank you!  We’ll go now.”  They also offered us their numbers before they left, in case we ever met with any problems or trouble, they asked us to call them.  
Only God could have accomplished what happened today.  I am so thankful that he is so able to surprise me with such a pleasant experience with the police.  
Now, we will keep trusting him to see it through until we have the paper in hand. : )

Saturday, April 2, 2011

What's the difference between a toilet and a washing machine?

Paul went yesterday out to the outskirts of our city to visit with a friend.  This friend told him a lot of really funny cross-cultural stories, but this one... I just can’t not share it. : )

He, let’s call him Don, said that he had a friend come in from his village to visit.  Let’s call the friend Sam.  So Don shows Sam his room.  While settling in, he looks in the bathroom and sees something he’s never seen before.  A white bowl with a lid, and a button that when pushed, swirls the water around.  When Sam goes out, he asks Don, “What is that thing in the bathroom?  The bucket with the water that swishes when you push the button?”  Don says, “Oh, that must be one of these new electrical washing machines.  You get some powdered soap from the market and put it inside, then put your clothes inside, close the lid, and push the button.  After some time, your clothes will be clean.”  
So while Sam was out that day, he picked up some of that powdered soap. 
That night, he decided to try this new washing machine on his new shirt, which undoubtedly he had gotten special for his trip to the big city.  He opened the toilet, put the powdered soap in and his shirt, closed the lid and pushed the button.  He heard the swishing, waited a few minutes, and opened the toilet to find, his shirt had disappeared! 
He noticed the hole and thought, “Maybe it got stuck up in there...” so he stuck his whole arm and hand as far as he could, but couldn’t find his new shirt.  Awww....
Don said a few days after Sam  left, the whole toilet got clogged and they had to take the plumbing all apart, but they found that shirt. 
True story.  : )

Friday, April 1, 2011

Police Clearance Success!

So this morning I tried again!  I went back to the DCP office and thankfully, there was a field cop there doing some paperwork who spoke great English.  He told me to fill out an application.  Which meant handwrite it on a piece of blank paper. So I wrote what he told me to write.  Then I had to go get a postal order for each application.  Once that was done, he told one of clerks in the office to take it and get it done.  This clerk happened to be there yesterday and said, “I told her yesterday she had to go to the FRO.” and said he wouldn’t take it.  So I called the man at the FRO, and handed the phone over. :)

After a few minutes of conversation, he hung up and told the field cop something.  The field cop told me to follow him.  I thought the phone call would be the end of it.  Nope.  Now he was taking me to see the superintendent of police.  Niiiiice. 
So I waited. And waited.  Finally, he called me in.  Now, picture for me an open air building that’s had thousands of people filing in and out, concrete walls with hundreds of hands and bodies touching and rubbing them for years, dust from the desert blowing in, men spitting their pan all over the walls.  It was a less than desirable environment.  Stacks of paper wrapped in cloths and labeled, stacked upon dusty shelves. It’s amazing that anything gets done.  
But walking into the superintendent’s office was like transporting to a different building.  The entire thing, ceiling, walls, floors were outfitted with beautiful wood panelling that was so shiny you could almost see your reflection in it.  A flat screen TV on the wall played the news.  A nice wood window let in fresh sunlight, and an AC on the wall kept the room nice and comfortable.  His wooden desk in the middle was HUGE, and perfectly organized. 
I sat down and waited for him to speak to me.  He finally did and asked what it was I needed.  I started explaining, got about two sentences in, and his phone rang.  He picked it up and started talking, so I stopped talking.  This happened about 7 times and it took me quite awhile for me to get through my story.  And, the entire time he was leafing through pages upon pages on his desk, apparently desperately looking for something. :)

So I sat there for a few moments in silence after I finished, not sure what to do.  He finally said, without looking up, “I’ve called a clerk to come, he is on his way.”  So a few moments later, the same clerk I spoke to before walked in.  The superintendent told him this was a simple procedure, he needed to do it for me, and then he wrote a note on my application and signed his name to it.  His name was Jose.  No lie. 
So, there you have it!  A beat cop will come by our house sometime in the next few days to confirm we live where we say we do, and will talk to our neighbors.  Then we’ll get our certificate in about 7 days.  
One more step done!