|A scene from our road one morning (excuse the awful picture....but I was trying to take it without looking......as if I was taking it!)|
It’s been a while…quite a while actually but then I’ve been really busy…..trying to keep my cool in more ways than one, and stop myself from perspiring and hyperventilating off the surface of the earth. Ramadan has come and gone and I started a whole other post on that but life does not stop just because you’re fasting and trying to up the anti in your relationship with your Creator. No sireeeeee…….Algeria just threw a few curb balls just to make life a little more interesting….and a whole lot more frustrating.
Losing the internet in the summer has now become an annual event. Probably because the infrastructure just cannot cope with the increase in demand once all the kids stop school, not to mention all the emigrants home on holiday. So when we lost our phone and internet connection I wasn’t really that surprised, but still we duly paid our Algerie Telecom office a visit to report the fault and waited an hour and half to do so. A week later, and another one and a half hours waiting just to tell them to cut off the internet until they fixed whatever was wrong with our phone, we discovered, just in passing mind you, that we had an unpaid bill. It appears that the postman couldn’t be bothered to deliver our telephone bill weeks earlier and we probably had been cut off, hence the first problem…and then a cable problem after that. But do you think they could tell us this the first time??? Finally Alhamdulilah we got internet and phone, and, although the internet is not brilliant we do have some semblance of connection to the outside world….and then I go on FB….. and wonder why I bother! Mind you…..FB is not my primary reason for having the internet.
I also had to go back for the umpteenth stamp on my temporary residency – I applied 2 years ago for a 10 year one, and I have been going back every 3 months since only for them to grant me a further 3 months extension. This time they wanted some of the paperwork renewed as it had gone out of date (because they had taken so long to process the darned thing)….along with a photocopy of my passport and, if I had them, a couple of more photos so they could make a new temporary residency paper as my one looks like it’s been through the two world wars. In Algeria you need to have a bag like Mary Poppins, except instead of it producing a lampshade etc. it needs to provide every piece of paper ever generated by your presence on this earth, stamped in triplicate in the ‘Baladia’ and hundreds of photos, with an electricity bill thrown in for good measure. After Ramadan I learnt, from a friend who had also gone through all the same hoops as me in her application for her 10 year residency, that she received a mere two year one and, when she queried it was sent from pillar to post until she was finally told that they have now stopped issuing the 10 year residency. BUT if you can show that you applied before January of this year you are entitled to receive it. So, if this is relevant to you, and you, too, receive a 2 year blue card when you were expecting the 10 year one, DO NOT give them that creased and crumpled piece of paper you’ve been carrying back and forth to the police station every three months, known here as the 'récépissé' as that is the only proof you have of your entitlement.
|Are you sure you couldn't find one any bigger????|
And then there were the passport forms I had ordered from the Irish Embassy in Berne – this is the Embassy responsible for any Irish citizens living in Algeria. Don’t ask me why it has to be this particular one….except….much and all as I hate to admit it…..I think there’s some cosmic link between Algeria and Ireland….in terms of logic anyway. I had ordered them to come before my husband
abandoned me left to go to England for Ramadan so that
he could get them all authorised and then post them from there. Same postman hadn’t bothered to deliver them
either, although he did look a bit (only a smidgeon mind you) shamefaced when
we asked him about it – it seems the post office itself has nothing whatsoever
to do with the mail…we had to hang around and speak to the postman himself, who
could be found lounging around holding up the…..post -box. He said he vaguely remembered something
coming from abroad and went into the back of the post office and returned
with….my envelope from Berne…..and our Algerie Telecom bill.
And THEN….yes there’s more….. the secondary school which my youngest son attends decided this year, in it’s not so infinite wisdom to request that all students be enrolled for the next year…..in the middle of July. So off we went to do some more paper hunting only to discover that the birth certificate he needs is no longer issued by the local ‘baladia’ and that we would need to go to the Ministry of foreign affairs in the middle of Algiers, as he had the audacity to be born abroad. And to add insult to injury the ‘baladia’ wouldn’t accept my signature on the necessary form – they wanted to know was there someone who had a power of attorney for him!!!!!! It seems I’m ONLY his mother and just won’t do. By this time I was practically hissing like a viper and coiled to strike anyone else who came in my way, but the school head master very amicably agreed to enrol my son while making a note that some of his paperwork was missing.
All of this in the 30+ degree heat and fasting. But I have to say….and yes I do have to because credit where credit is due….most of the people we dealt with….in the police station, Algerie Telecom, the school were all very kind and nice Alhamdulilah. Of course they would have been even nicer and kinder if they had given me what I needed in the first place, but if Algeria teaches you anything it will teach you patience and the fact that…you just can’t get everything you want in life, just when you want it. Needless to say you do have to stay sane long enough to learn these lessons. And Alhamdulilah for my children who had to be the ones who did all the queueing and running around while I, most of the time, sat in the car and perspired. Of course, always looking on the bright side of life…it could have been worse….I could have expired.