Monday, December 6, 2010


After our first, slightly unsuccessful on my part, visit to the Trésor, we were asked to call the Secretary of the Director General on the following day. We did and, surprisingly, were asked to come in.

I thus put on my only closed shoes, which happen to be pink trainers, and we set off. I was, of course, stopped at the entrance and asked by a superior security guard if I knew how to read. As Jandro went in, the guard pointed to a specified list of clothes which are allowed at the institution, and instructed me to read it carefully, using the familiar form tu, which is unacceptable in an official conversation. I read, took my usual spot outside the building, and waited.

Jandro emerged not long afterwards, saying that Secretary A directed him to Secretary B, who, in turn, told him to come back on Monday, as her Boss was extremely busy. And this is where today's story begins. Jandro being away, I had to pay a visit to Secretary B on my own.

Dressed in an elegant skirt which modestly covered my knees and the black shoes I had dutifully bought on Friday, I stepped through the threshold of Treasury just before 10 am. The security guards scrutinized my feet and must have been satisfied with the huge flowers on top of my brand new fake-suede shoes. Following Jandro's instructions, I found Secretary B's office. She quickly sent me away to Monsieur C's Secretary. Apparently, it was Monsieur C, the vice director of Treasury, who was in possession of my dossier.

Asking around, I managed to find my second Secretary of the day. She occupied one of the many tiny cubicles, and so did Monsieur C (his was slightly fancier but as cramped as the other ones). I sat down in the Secretary's "office", while she explained to me that Monsieur C was a very busy man. I spent an hour waiting for him to find a minute to see me, meanwhile becoming intimate friends with the Secretary.

Finally, I was called in. I opened the door, hit a huge leather armchair, which was blocking the entrance, and squeezed inside. Even though I had never mentioned my name, Monsieur knew exactly who I was. He was indeed in the possession of the dossier but was missing some mysterious "listing", with which I could not supply him. He called me Madame Kaczynski several times and informed me that issuing a cheque would take 24 hours. I was to come back the next day and ask for my friend the Secretary. She would take me to the person who would hand me the cheque.

Stunned, I thanked him and left. The word "cheque" was still ringing in my ears. Was it possible that things would go smoothly from then on? Would I really receive my money tomorrow? My African experience is suggesting only one possible answer to these questions: I have no idea whatsoever!


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  2. Kaxa, this is a great story. I am indeed impressed that you have tenaciously pursued your deposit. You're on a journey that is not for the faint of heart! Bon Chance! Bon Courage! I hope and pray that tomorrow will be the day when you see your cheque, however... being a resident of Gabon requires me not to hold my breath- but we can always hope for a miracle! Steve