So it’s my third day in this particular government public office. I’ve been here the past two days, I wasn’t able to get served fully which brought me back the third day. Nothing astonishing right? On this day, I decided I will be an early bird at the office. By 8:30 I was there and sat comfortably next to four other young people. It kinda elevated my morale knowing that i’d soon be done with the whole frustrating process.
So, a man was being served when the printer suddenly jammed. The lady official graciously stood up from her seat to the printer and started clicking the buttons randomly.
“Eish na hii imejam,” she says as she continues to play around with the printer buttons. Unsuccessfully, she goes back to her seat and fidgets with her computer now. She calls one of her colleagues who takes over the dissecting of the printer like an experimental guinea pig. He pulls out the lower tray of the printer, peeps inside then returns it. The old lady (probably in her 50’s) goes back to her sit, relaxes back comfortably as she swings her chair and starts swiping her phone upwards with a smile plastered on her lips.
It gets to one hour past. The man is still ‘trying to do something’ and the queue is now queuing. Everyone is becoming rather restless now.
“Kwani hamuna spare tire nyi watu?” (Don’t you have a spare ‘tire’you people)
The lady is still swinging comfortably on her chair. The man says something, she wakes up and they start discussing on what they should do.
“Tuende?” (Should we go?) Another young man shouts from behind.
“TUENDEEEE?!!! Sisi bana hatuwezi poteza mda wote hapa.” (We can’t waste all our time here)
We all start laughing at his tone.
“We can’t do anything,” she says in a vague way. We couldn’t even get it whether she was talking to us or to herself. All in all, she had said what she needed to. They have given up.
The ‘tuende’ guy loses his cool and walks away.
Like we don’t even exist, the lady graciously walks to her desk, takes a beautiful green scarf and puts it on her shoulder, picks a paper bag, goes to another drawer and removes a small jar. She is going for breakfast.
“Hallo?! what kind of public office is this? How can you just leave?” A young man behind me starts getting worked up. The lady ignores and disappears into the staircase.
“Government offices have always had the worst service eveer,” An elderly lady says.
“These people are not serious. Some of us have been here since 7 then you expect us to leave now then come back again?! Hiyo fare iko wapi?! (Where is the fare for that?)
He walks aggressively to the man.
The man is still ttttrrryiiinggg…
“Some of us have to travel. We have to finish this NOW,” he continues complaining. But the poor man is still tryiiiiiinggg 😀
Angrily, the young man storms out, “I can’t do this anymore!”
I smile to myself, sit back comfortably, specs pushed forward. Oh well, isn’t this the best place to just scrutinize human behaviour under pressure?! Should have brought my notebook with me 😀
After the young man stormed out, several others followed behind. With empty seats now ahead of me, I turn to the lady beside me, “Move forward to the next seat, lest someone else takes our numbers in the queue.”
“What for?” Her back slumped even way lower than mine, “Nothing is happening here.”
I laugh. And the young man on my left side chuckles.
“I’m just being optimistic. Subira huvuta heri (Patience pays)” I laugh at how ridiculous that sounds at this moment. It’s already past two hours and no one has been served. The young man on my left backs me up, “Yes, let’s just wait a little more.”
Our lady grace, queen of the office arrives from her breakfast. She takes her time. No hurry in Africa my friend. Slowly she gets to her desk and asks the poor man who is still TRYING, “Not yet?”
She stands next to him for a moment, they discuss once again, before she takes a seat again; picks her phone and starts smiling.
“We unacheka tu hapo sisi roho zinatuuma,” (Another young man behind me whispers) We all start laughing.
The other young man next to him joins in, only he was ready with grenade-like insults for the lady. He insulted her, her mother, back to her and I almost thought he would insult her entire ancestry in a moment. Then he just decided to zip it up with, “dem ni dem tu” (A woman is just a woman) and in my mind i’m thinking, “Really now?! How does being an insensitive worker have anything to do with being a woman?” 😀 I would have told him that but oh well, I really didn’t want my children to be insulted before they are even born, so I’d just swallow it up.
The poor man still TRYING, decides to call another colleague in the office and request for his printer. So he left and in a few minutes, he was back, climbing down the stairs steadily with the printer over-weighing him.
The two young men and lady in front of me are all staring at the man carrying the printer. One looks back at me and we start laughing. We are thinking of the same thing 😀 Like finally! but then what if it doesn’t work? 😀
But then the man, as if reading our minds, says, “If this doesn’t work, you guys are jinxed.”
Laughter again. But then we are all getting too anxious. Three hours, no one has been served.
The other printer is set and the our lady grace queen of the office tries to print one of the forms. It agrees. Everyone is hurrah! Finally! But the fellow colleague interrupts, “The form hasn’t printed out the words properly. Try again”
Another form is printed. It is not okaaayyy!! Something is wrong again!
The cursing starts again. A few more clicks of the tongue here and there.
The poor man, who deserves the award of the month for his patience, decides to seek help from someone else. Soon enough, two older men with that official look came. They start looking into the printer. Removes some wires here and there. Puts some more forms in the tray then tries printing again.
“These small sized forms, it is always better when they are in large quantities,” one of them says. The printer works. Finally! We should be having that confetti moment right now. But wait. Seems like the office is full of surprises, we may just as well cross our fingers until served.
“But this is so wrong,” the other old official man cuts in. “You should have informed me about this way earlier.”
“You know, we thought it won’t take this long,” Lady grace the queen says so humbly now.
“Even so…this is wrong. You have kept the customers for too long and it is not good,” he then turns to us, “Really sorry about this. Really sorry.”
Oh. Finally someone apologizes.
“Thank you,” I nod excessively. I mean, don’t people understand the great effect of apologizing?!
The man turns back to her again, “Next time, anything like this happens you should refer them to Huduma centre.”
She nods pitifully, “By the way, those who are in a hurry can go to Huduma now.”
HAHAHA. Are you kidding me? Have you seen that endless wavy line that is at Huduma since 7 a.m. in the morning? The queues actually look like the ants are taking a trip to somewhere so cool like the moon or like children going for a field trip and they have to make those chain lines to ensure no one gets lost 😀 Only that public offices is nothing cool like the moon or even the field. No ma’am. I’ll wait.
The two older men leave and we finally start getting served. Oh but guess what? The lady grace (Grace is not her name by the way 😀 I mean grace by her poise 😀 ) insists to ruin my day despite my anger management goals of 2017.
“Let all those who’ve got receipts come first.”
Quickly, another long line was formed by those having receipts while we; the early birds, the starving-from-hunger-due-to-lack-of-breakfast, the I-was-here-when-it-all-started, we were just left there to rot on our seats *sob sob* And then people wonder how psychos because pyschos; of course it is like this. With all that hunger and fatigue, we could all start a strike right there and then 😀 So all we do now is complain, “This is not fair”, “Most of them have just arrived now”, “How can you do this woman”
Then comes in this tall, pretty pretty young lady, looking so fresh and neat. She takes a separate seat aside. Another worker from the office comes to her and does the whole process for her. In about 20 minutes she is done and there she is, elegantly walking out. And you can’t even get angry anymore so you just say, “Okay. The rest of us who are thugly (thin and ugly :D) can just wait and rot right here. I’ll just wait” :/
I anxiously now start swinging my left leg restlessly. The line of the receipt guys is not ending and at this moment even doing the ‘Ommm!’ to calm the nerves won’t work.
To make matters worse, the lady grace is working single-handedly and taking her sweet time at it. Whispers of complaints still going on around me. Well, you want to learn how to manage your anger? Come to such offices my friend. You will have a good battle with your demons while at it.
Another worker comes in and takes a seat on the next desk beside the lady and he starts serving us; the abandoned children of Jerusalem 😀 Hurrah! I am third in line. At this point, I don’t even want to wink. Ready and steady. No distractions. No one should dare take my place. When my turn comes, I quickly take a seat. Let’s just end this please. The worker starts typing my details quick. At least he is faster than lady Grace, I say to myself. Then I notice two dead houseflies on the desk with a little distance between them. Who knows what is the sad story of these poor tiny houseflies? Maybe they’ve been waiting for this man to come with some food and pour some drops on the desk so they can have some meal? Poor them. Must have waited as long as I did. Rest in peace dear housy and housy 2. Or should we call the other Housier, considering that maybe it was a she? RIP Housy and Housier. The world is surely going to miss you two.
Then my mourning session is suddenly interrupted.
“Ai, kwani imeanza kuleta shida tena?” Lady grace says.
She goes to the printer and peeps.
God…why am I so jinxed? I am the reason all this havoc happened? Oh God…but whyyy?!! Oh God please I repent right now. *crying emoji*
“Okay okay…it is working.”
Whoof woman! Kwani were you sent to do all you can to test my anxiety hormones today?! Jeez!!
My card is printed! After four hours! Alhamdulilah! Don’t ask me how fast I was already leaving that office when I heard lady grace call out, “Hey young lady! Come back. That is not your card” 😀 😀
😀 😀 😀 Okay relax. That last bit was just from my imagination. Thank God it didn’t happen? Coz I think i’d have ended up beating up lady grace’s face beyond recognition. I mean, all that karate kid watching can do some good nah? 😀 😉