Blogger's Note: Since this is a mid-week post there will only be one. I'll post two more this weekend.
Two weeks ago I mentioned how impossible it is to maneuver the postal system in Guyana. Well after a few more obstacles, I’ve finally scored my package from the impenetrable Guyanese Postal Services. It was done with a good solid fight from the Post Office and many offenses made to me.
I receive a call from my Field Director saying that she received the package slip and since she was already going to the post office she would (as a favor this time only) go ahead and pick it up for me. We planned to meet in town after school on Tuesday. Sadly, receiving a big brown box was going to be the highlight of my week. I was so excited I couldn't sleep at night.
Score: Yvonne-0, Post Office- 16
Tuesday After School
My Field Director goes to the post office with my package slip in hand. She asks to pick up a package under my name, in care of [Ms. Field Director]. The Post Office goes on defense.
Postal Worker: Your name is not Yvonne. You cannot pick up the package.
Field Director: But it says c/o. That stands for “care of” which means I can pick up the package for her.
Postal Worker: No. She has to pick it up herself.
Field Director: But you see, my name is also on the package under “care of”, which means I can pick it up as well.
This match continues for 15 tedious minutes.
Postal Worker: Fine! I will let you pick up her package. But you will have to come back tomorrow morning because there is a bomb threat and we’re shutting down the Post Office.
Apparently bomb threats occur quite often. I wonder why.
Score: Yvonne-0, Post Office- 19
I go into town bright and early for another attempt at the Post Office. There is no line, just a huddle of people gathered around a window waving their package slips at a postal worker. I hand in my slip and wait 15 minutes for them to retrieve it. Then the package sits there for another 15 minutes as the postal workers stand around taking time outs as they please. I’m never getting a break with this.
A woman approaches me and asks if I was here two Saturdays ago. I confirm she's correct and she tells me I’m being awfully quiet today. She searches for my package. I see it underneath a pile of boxes. She finds it then flagrantly walks away. That was foul, but apparently they get to just make up the rules as they go along.
15 minutes later they rip open my package and fumble through it like it’s a Barney’s sale. After emptying out the contents of my package it sits there for another 15 minutes. A woman comes around, shoves my belongings back in the box, then haphazardly tapes it back together. She writes down all the information from my package slip, attaches a random value for its contents, and tells me to advance to the next window to pay a customs fee.
At the next window the woman writes down all the information over again from my package slip. I pay and she asks me to go to the next window.
At the next window I can pick up package after the woman writes down all the information from my package slip again. Their strategy is clearly to run down the time on the clock.
Postal Worker: Sign here.
I sign my name
Postal Worker: I can’t read that! That’s scratch!
Me: But that’s my signature.
Postal Worker: Well write it out. Here and then here again.
After over an hour at the post office and a month of waiting, I finally score my package. (Thanks Mom! I love you!)
Final Score: Yvonne- 1 Post Office-24