One Last Office to Find

This morning I went to the bank on my way to work to pay the fee for my identity card. Then I went to work for a bit before setting out to find the SEGIP office. In Steph’s notes it gave a street name as well as two cross streets. I couldn’t find one of them on a map but I figured it could only be at most one block in either direction from the one I could. The street I needed is in an extra hilly part of town (all of Sucre is hilly and in parts it feels like an Escher print because a road dips down in the middle and there is no way to get anywhere without going both up and down). I trudged my way up and then along the street where the office was supposed to be. No office. I took out my phone and tried to find the office by name in Google maps but it only came up with the branches of the same office in other Bolivian cities. I then opened my browser to see what a Google search could turn up. I found the SEGIP website but under the offices tab, there was no listing for Sucre. I went back to the hits and finally found a news article that mentioned it being on a different street “near the outdoor theatre”. It turned out that street ran parallel to the one I was on, so I decided to see if I could find it. One direction was downhill but only for a couple blocks and the street ran for several more blocks in the other direction. I took my chances and starting walking downhill knowing full well that I might have to turn around and go back up the hill but after half a block or so I spotted a lot of people outside a gate. At first I thought it might be a school but when I saw that there were several photocopy shops (including a mobile one in a mini-van), I figured the odds were good that I had found the place I was looking for. Steph’s notes said to ask for the office for foreigners so I went in and stood in the information line. There was an epic line up to one side that I think was for drivers’ licenses. It looped back and forth like the lines at Disneyland but without any entertainment. The information person told me to go past the line up to the very end where I would see a sign for the office I needed. I found the sign but it was on a back wall. At a right angle to it was a locked gate and next to that there was a door to another office but it had a different sign. I peered in and looked confused enough of that someone at a desk took pity on me. He said to come in and go around the corner to find the desk I needed. I took a seat at the desk in spite of there being no one manning it. After a bit, a woman turned up. She had forgotten her reading glasses at home and had gone to pick them up. She had one of the most sophisticated computer set ups I have seen yet – printer, flatbed scanner and fingerprint scanner. However it took her three tries to get the scan of my passport to print the size she wanted. After the first two tries (too small and too big), I couldn’t hold back any longer and I told her which size to select (which was the correct one). I think maybe I have found a new calling – IT training for Bolivian civil servants…

Eventually she had everything she needed, including a dreadful photo of me. She said to come back on Monday with a photocopy of my passport. (I guess she didn’t want to try scanning and printing again.) And that’s it. There aren’t any more offices on my list that I have to find to request documents.

On the way back to the BiblioWorks office, I stopped by migration to ask my new best friend a couple questions for incoming volunteers. He asked how it went with my ID card and told me to come and show it to him after I pick it up. Not sure why but with all the volunteers coming who will need to visit migration to extend visas and a couple who need to apply for the same one as me, I am happy to stay on good terms with him.

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