Monday, October 03, 2016

American,schmamerican  
I think we mostly got special treatment at the questura/police station of Pistoia today because no one can say no to Peace. However, I don't care if it was the shock value of me coming in with the baby in my arms that made it so that we did not have to take a number with the dozens of others trying to get their immigration business done in the two dedicated hours this morning. We had to go three rounds at the window, where an essentially sweet, older gentleman barked instructions at me rapid fire like he was an auctioneer. I nodded at him encouragingly, and my Italian was passable enough today that he thought I understood more than I did. That is why he just about barked my head off when we came back to the window without the copies he had asked for and the forms only half completed. In fact, Job and F had to jog half a mile to the post office to pay the fees for the permesso. It wasn't enough to ask for just a new stay permit for the baby, the parents had to have theirs updated which meant we had to pay more than thirty euros a head for all three of them, plus thirty-two euros worth of postage. How does Italy think unemployed Nigerian refugees with babies who want to get them a stay permit can come up with more than a hundred euros for this?
At the police station
 I ended up translating for several English speakers who had tried to make a go of it on their own, while joking with the police, and keeping the people behind us on line from killing us for taking so long. We also ran to the copy shop, where we made copies of everything except the birth certificate, so the grumpy guy yelled at us again. Nevertheless, he made the copy for us, even though it is against the rules. He smiled when I elected him to sainthood. And when I tried to explain that I was American, he basically said American, SchAmerican, it doesn't matter the rules are for everyone. But I snapped back with, Well, if there were Italians who would help this family out; I wouldn't have to do it even though I don't understand the instructions and can't fill out the forms by myself. I also kind of remember promising to bring him our homemade bread when we come back to pick up the document on November third. 
 
On the way back, we saved a French speaking African guy from having charges pressed against him. I think he did not pay his bus fare, and he left home without his stay permit, if he even has one. The Italian men who were escorting him to the police station asked us to ask him for his birthday because they were under the mistaken impression that he spoke English. F immediately forgot every word of highschool French and tried to use his slow internet connection to look up the words. I did such a horrible job speaking the two languages I am supposed to know, and F did such a horrible job of letting me pronounce the French that for some reason sent him into a panic attack, that the men decided not to press charges after all. I thumped on the guy's chest and pointed heavenward, saying, C'est Magnifique and Bon Chance which are the only things that entered my head besides je ne sais quoi, which was less appropriate to the situation.
 
When we got in the car, the hot water repairman called me from their house. He couldn't figure out the weird water pump situation because F invented it himself, and there are so may pipes that have faucets which have to be turned just so to get water throughout the house. He was very sweet, and he let me have his plumber friend's number so we can all coordinate and get the water to the hot water heater before winter comes. 
Why hello there, I'm up from my nap!
Several things are falling apart that we had fixed, and we have to make sure the apartment is in good shape before the landlords come back to Italy to do an inspection, especially since no one has been paying rent up until now. 
I also got to speak with Tina's sister Maysie in Nigeria. She has four children. She wanted to thank us for everything, which was very sweet. 
Sleepy Peace-y
Peace on board! She is strapped on back.
I also am trying to coordinate with Emmanuel's lawyers because one of the motions failed. From what I understood, he still has a chance to get a favorable decision from the judge about staying in Italy legally. His camp was so mismanaged and corrupt that it is being closed, so I have to coordinate with the Caritas lawyer here and beg her to help him to renew his stay permit before time runs out. It is a mess. He gets very depressed when he thinks about his son, Precious, in Nigeria who is constantly begging for him, while he knows that nothing is really happening that will allow him to either send him money or be able to even see him again. We are working on that. 
 
 

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