Monday, April 10, 2017

Blocked and shocked, but not completely stopped
We woke up to find that our city was not just blockaded off to cars, as we expected because of the G7 summit, but that it was blocked to foot traffice, as well. We had to walk a long ways and then we had to show our documents just to exit Lucca's city walls. 

For the duration of the entire car trip to pick up Peace and her parents, T consented to speak to me in her fluent Italian, which is a rarity. Now I know why. She corrected practically every sentence that came out of my mouth. This can only mean that my students and friends have just gotten used to me and are complete fakers who are too polite to tell me the truth. 

T at work

We picked up the baby and met Courtney and Emmanuel at the police station in Pistoia. Emmanuel got there early to get a ticket number for the line. As we arrived so did a parade of fire engines and they proceeded to block off all the entrances and exits to cars for some sort of drill. I hopped into Courtney's car and we drove to the Caritas lawyers' office. They told me that the original lawyer's plan would not work. Then they told me they did not have an hour to do the paperwork for us. I don't know why they didn't tell me before. They said that If Emmanuel had a job, they could correct the situation for his stay permits. But, of course, it goes without saying, that he can't take the job if he doesn't first have the right to Italy's protection for political asylum. The horrible part of this story is that the truth is that his participation in a political party caused his house to be burned and we have the photographic proof. Unfortunately, he was under too much shock from the death of his wife to recount this story in English or in Italian at the time. His English has improved over time, but when I met him it was very broken, pidgin English. 

I didn't take Emmanuel's or my picture today because we looked a bit rough around the eyes. I did dress up and wear pearls, which I believe, along with F's tie, helped us to get past the blockade a little quicker, though. T was wearing jeans and they held her there for fifteen minutes while they checked out her birth date and address. 

In short, Courtney, Emmanuel and I went to the police station armed with a whole lot of nothing. If you discount F's homemade bread. The older gentleman agent who knows my face and F's bread was very embarrassed by the bread because Mondays is the crowded day and there were too many witnesses. He was very angry at me for bringing it, and he told me to give it to the hungry crowds instead. There is a heavyset guard named Filippo who kept smiling at Courtney and me. He asked me if we achieved our objective and I mouthed no. Then I looked skyward and interlocked my fingers in a sign of prayer. He told me that God is not involved in these decisions, so there was no use praying. He smiled. Later he took me behind the side door and forced the agent to accept the bread. In the end, the agent spoke to our friend Valentina, who could not be there in person. I had some of the documents he wanted in my phone, but they were not printed out. He told me that we needed to print them out for tomorrow. We thought about printing them out at a copy shop and insisting for today, but we know that it always takes two tries and sometimes coming back the same day just makes people angry. 

Peace setting the bar for classy, stylish babies fighting bureaucracy all over the globe.

I left Peace, who was not feeling well after her vaccine, with T. T translated for Peace's parents to explain their passport problems. It turns out that Peace's mother had to disguise her identity as a single woman so she could pass as a married woman to avoid being raped on her way out of Africa. The lawyers said that they would try to obtain a rejection of her request for a new passport in writing from the embassy so that she does not have to go back to Africa to get one. Can I just say one more time what an insane practice it is to make refugees who had to flee their countries for safety issues, go back to get a passport just so that they can renew their stay permits in the country that is supposed to be protecting them?

Tomorrow I have to teach English at the company, so T will go take Emmanuel back to the police station with F along with the missing documents to beg for the permission to work in one day's time, even though that permission is not granted without a twenty day wait period as a general rule. 

To Be Continued . . . 

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