Friday, November 04, 2016

Bread & butter
Yesterday we took Peace to have a check-up at the hospital of Pescia. Sometimes when we take Tina and Job or other people from our group to an appointment, people can't figure out what we are doing with them. Some wrong guesses work in our favor. Number one on this day was that the nurse in the pediatric department assumed that if I had a tall husband for whom I was waiting to park the car and bring money for the outstanding medical tests, he must be Italian. I gave F the signal that means nod a lot, but don't speak. This inspires tremendous faith in people. She gave him a set of instructions based on the fact that Tina now has a paper that shows that they are below the poverty level, so that she gets a discount on the medical bill. Her regular pediatrician did not make note of it because it came through after her last appointment with him. Therefore, the nurse wanted F and me to go to the accounting office across the street and convince them to charge her ten euros instead of 46 euros. Then we went back and discovered the good news that Peace will not need hernia surgery and that her little swelling around her belly button will go away by itself.

Then today I went, full of dread, back to the police station where crazy Jeff/Joshua got on line for us early in the morning to get a number ticket. His real motivation was to have me translate for him because last time he came to renew his stay permit, they seized it from him and he did not understand why. Peace was wearing a donated diaper that was too big for her and her whole outfit got wet so we were late in leaving the house because I changed her and I got all the little snaps on backwards. Twice. The first thing I had to do when we got there was to give F's homemade bread to the officers to charm our way in. I even got old grumpy guy behind the window to smile because he remembered that I had promised him the bread last time. Even though he had said not to bother, he pointed out how to throw it to him over the divider and he chuckled. Jeff is not one that I want to pour a lot of energy into because he constantly is going off of misinformation. He had told me he won his appeal, but that was not true. He told me he no longer was working with his lawyer, but I called the lawyer today and he is still working Jeff's case. The judge's decision is still pending, and he can't get a decision about his permesso unless the appeal goes his way. Jeff also asked me for Glory's number. I thought he wanted to make up with her. Then, apparently, he called and threatened Glory not to disturb me because other people needed my help more. Tina spoke to Glory in Nigerian for me to reassure her. She will come to Lucca on a pass tomorrow and Federica from Brooks running company and I will give her some donations to keep her and some others in the tents with her warm and comfortable. The thing about Jeff is that in social work school they teach you that the smelliest, meanest, least likeable client is the one who needs your help the most. It is not all a feel good exchange.

Peace got good news!

These appointments are so terrible. I hated the bureaucratic stuff we had to go through and was so glad to get a five year break from it while our carte di soggiorno are valid, but now I have some nightmare like this for a group member every other month. Jeff paid at least 30 euros last time he was at the police station last month for a stay permit that he was not allowed to renew so he had me tell the agent at the window that he had given money to them for nothing. Of course the man yelled at me that he was hardly a crook and that Jeff should have a receipt from the Post Office. If it hadn't been for the bread, my whole reputation could have been ruined by that exchange. Next time F will have to add the gorgonzola and not just the salted rosemary. 

We failed to have the right kind of photos for the baby permesso, so we had to go get a photo shoot done at the copy shop down the road mid-way through. We had to wake baby Peace because the photo must be done with your eyes open. She apparently cries and eats all night, but during the day she hardly cries. She is so good! And now she has added adorable gurgling and singing to her repertoire. No matter what people's political stance is towards immigrants, no one can resist her. The bread gift/bribe allowed me to speak more with the officers who asked me if I was adopting the baby because they could not imagine that I would just be friends with the family without having any ulterior motives. I was glad to clear that up.

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