Back to the Pursuit of a Residence Permit

First, thank you to all the friends and family who checked in after my last post. I felt the love and support from all corners of the globe. I also felt better after I had some hot chocolate and listened to an audiobook and then I went to sleep.

Today I stopped by the hospital on my way to work to see if I could make a doctor’s appointment for the afternoon. (They only let you pick up lab results from 3 pm to 8 pm and I needed the results to take to the doctor so he could write up my medical certificate.) The line at the information desk where you make appointments was ridiculously long so I decided to come back later.

I spent the morning sifting through the email inbox of the volunteer account. I deleted a few, archived a bunch, starred some back to and began draft replies for some. The previous volunteer coordinator left in May and while she attempted to check the account and forward important stuff to Maritza, the director, Maritza’s English isn’t great and I think some people may have fallen through the cracks.

A previous BiblioWorks library technician stopped by just before noon and brought ice cream so there was an impromptu gathering to catch up with her.

On my way home for lunch, I stopped by the hospital and this time I was able to make an appointment – sort of. I got a ticket for the afternoon session which starts at 2 pm. At home I dropped a load of laundry off across the street and ate. I made my way back to the office, touched base with Maritza and then packed up as I decided that I wasn’t likely to make it back in post- running around.

I got to the hospital a bit before 3 pm and waited in line. It was still not quite 3 pm when my turn at the window came but the woman happily gave me my results anyway. I made my way to the corridor outside the doctor’s office which was full of people – many of whom were medical students. I asked and it appeared that only two patients were waiting for the same doctor. After a while the doctor stuck his head out and called out a few names, one of which was one of the two I had identified. Five of the students, the patient whose name was called and the other patient who said he just had a question filed into the examining room. The patient with the question emerged shortly after. When the other patient emerged, one of the students called my name. I gave the doctor my blood test results and the chest x-ray. He passed the x-ray to the students, took my blank medical certificate and excused himself. After awhile he came back with it. He had obviously typed it up on a typewriter in some other room. He asked if I knew the “dirección” of the hospital. I was a bit confused as dirección means address and I definitely didn’t know the address of the hospital. He said he would show me and I followed him out. It turns out dirección also means administration and I needed to go to the admin office to get the form stamped. The hospital is a lovely old building and I stopped to take a couple photos from the second level after the stamping was complete.


My next destination was SEDES (Servicio Departamental de Salud del Departamento Autónomo de Chuquisaca) to get my medical certificate authorized (or maybe authenticated?). I spotted a photocopy shop a block or so before I got to the office so I got two copies of the certificate (as per Steph’s notes). The copies were 20 centavos each (3 cents USD) and I paid with a 50 centavos coin. I received a candy as change. The only place that seems to have 10 centavos coins is the grocery store.

When I got to the SEDES office and found the desk I needed, the woman wrote me a bill for 70 Bs ($10 USD) and sent me downstairs to pay. She said she would need a photocopy of the receipt when I came back. There was no one at the cashier but eventually someone said that the person would be back soon. A line began to form behind me. After about 10 minutes, the woman showed up and I paid. I went back outside to find a photocopy shop and ended up back at the one I had been to before. This time I paid for my copy with two 10 centavos coins. Back at SEDES, the woman took my original medical certificate, one photocopy of it and the photocopy of my receipt. She said to come back at 10:30 am tomorrow. Once I have my medical certificate back the only document I will still be waiting for is my Interpol police check. I applied for it last Tuesday and the woman said to check back in 5 days but I suspect Saturday and Sunday do not count. I will stop by the office tomorrow though just in case.

The fun won’t quite be over once I have all my documents though. I will need to get two copies of each and take them all to the migration office. I will also need to go to the bank to make the biggest payment yet – 1350 Bs (nearly $200 USD). Hopefully migration won’t send me off for any other documents though apparently once I submit everything, they will organize a house visit and I will need a letter from my landlord as well as copies of the light, water and tax bills.

In other news, it looks like the visit to two of our libraries is going ahead and Silvia and I will be setting off tomorrow afternoon sometime. We will spend two nights in one town and visit a library there as well as one in a nearby village. (I’m packing toilet paper, wet wipes, peanut butter and my sleeping sheet as well as the usual clothes and toiletries.) Maybe by the time we come back, my Interpol certificate will be ready…

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