Tuesday, April 14, 2009

He wasn't going to do it anyway

This is a short little story of Peruvian culture and (mis) communication.

I have been waiting since January for literacy certificates for 2 groups that finished their 1st phase of literacy training back in November 2008. Jose (I will leave out his last name to protect him from humiliation) has been my main man since last year. He signed our institutional agreement with the Ministry of Education, stating his institution would provide our groups with literacy material. Jose would facilitate the gathering of documents. And when all was said and done, send our documents to Lima so that little workers bees could produce an official certificate of literacy success and then send those certificates back to Jose. Jose would then give them to me. And I would then give them to the women. In February. February came and went. March. March came and went. April.

Well Jose is nowhere to be found. He is in the mountains supervising another group. No, he is in Lima receiving training. No, No, no one is quite sure. He told me week after week, the certificates are on there way. I called him weekly, often times only to find an empty dial tone. I visited his office and when I was luck I would find 'Panchito' sitting there reading the paper. But his partner-in-crime 'Panchito' can't help me. He doesn't have the authority.

Today I put my foot down. I entered the Ministry of Education doors with the mission to talk to the higher up and get an answer, a date, a something! Panchito greeted me at the office door and told me Jose isn't here this afternoon.

"But he told me would we meet at 4pm." - me
"He was here this morning." - Panchito
" But Jose didn't tell me to come this morning. He told me to come at 4pm. Listen, I need to talk to someone who knows about these certificates, I have been waiting for 4 months now." - me

In walks a new face, a new literacy supervisor that works with Jose. He doesn't have any real answers, but he listens to me. He takes down my name, number and explains very clearly and respectfully how the process of receiving certificates works.
"You need to make another document B so we can send it with your document A in order to get the certificates. (Really? - Jose didn't tell me this). I am going to Lima this month so I can help you.
" - The new guy

"Yea, why don't you help this woman, since Jose was never going to do it anyways." - Panchito

Paz ~ Nora

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