I’ve made a rod for my own back. I meant to sort things out earlier, but I forgot, and forgot how slow things in Tanzania can be. So the last couple of days have been very stressful.
But it would probably help if I go back to explain what I’m on about.
So as many of you probably know, in order to work with children, vulnerable adults or any at risk groups in the UK you need to have a police check. The system at the moment is a little stupid as you need a check for the job you are applying for, rather than a check to say you are suitable for these sorts of jobs.
I wasn’t going to need one, but now I do thanks to some of the voluntary work I’ll be doing. Which means checking that I didn’t get up to anything dodgy whilst I was here. I didn’t but they aren’t going to just take my word for it. Fair enough.
So with 21 days before I leave Mwanza, on Monday I spoke to the HR guy at the school, saying that I needed to get this done. Could he let me know what I needed to do and when I could get down to the Police station to get my fingerprints done.
“Can you come tomorrow at 10am?”
“No, I’m teaching then, I have a class.”
“Can you come tomorrow at 12pm?”
“No, I’ve got the same class all day, I’m a teacher, I teach. I’ll be working.”
“When can you come?”
“Wednesday after 3:30, I’m teaching until then.”
“So not during the day on Wednesday then?”
(He’s not picked up on this)
We settled on Wednesday 3.30, so after school I went to meet him to go to the rozzers and he said, no, the police man has gone out. Great. But I was productive, I came here to Goldcrest Hotel and drank iced mochas and wrote reports for years 7 and 8. Then I went to pick up some Chinese food and saw a rat, but the food was delicious anyway.
The HR man turned up in my after school song and dance club at half two. “Can you go now?” “No. I have 19 children here.”
At half 3, the agreed time, I got on the back of a piki piki. This is a motorbike. I was wearing a dress with leggings, this was not something I expected at the start of the day or I would have worn trousers. Now I’m not someone who loves motorbike riding even when in England, but especially not when carrying a laptop, a bag, no helmet, going on dirt roads that turn to tarmac half way along. That’s not too bad it’s the other drivers that’s a hassle. We stopped just 2 minutes from the police station because I had no helmet and he didn’t want to get fined. Fair enough.
Into the police station I went, waiting in the temporary office for my fingerprints to be taken to send to Dar. “Have you got two photocopies of your passport and two passport sized photos?” “No.” Bugger. HR man helpfully forgot to mention these items. Ahhhh. So no police check today.
“You will pay the $25 and 20,000 shilings today though? And your phone is ringing.”
“No I won’t, I’ll pay the $25 and 12,600 shillings that this should cost tomorrow when I bring the rest of the documents, although I should warn you I’ll be green. (Don’t ask). And I know my phone is ringing I can hear it, but my fingers are currently covered in fingerprint ink.”
(The system is very thorough, he kept waggling my right thumb to make it more relaxed for ‘the pressing’, but that wasn’t going to help. You have an imprint taken of your thumb and fingers on your right hand, then the left, then all the fingers together on the right hand, then the left, then a man takes you outside with a bottle of water and a bar of soap to clean off.)
So now I have photographs ready to take and the passport will be copied again and it will all go to Dar for processing. I leave in 17 days. Hopefully it will be sorted.
The next problem is that HR man is a big fan of the Bishop that runs our school and will probably pass the police check to him so that he can ransom it and make me go to see him. This would be an arse as I don’t have time. And he is irritating. And I don’t want to go to see him, but sometimes you just have to suck it up. So I’ll make an appointment and hopefully he’ll ignore me. Will the check come back before I leave? We’ll see.
And more on me being green tomorrow.