* GUATEMALA * * * * * * * * Dick Rutgers *

An ongoing journal of life as a Missionary in Guatemala. It will make you laugh and cry at the same time.

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Location: Chimaltenango, Guatemala

I work in Guatemala with Hope Haven international and Bethel Ministries. Along with my friends Chris and Donna Mooney and their family, we share the love of Jesus in various ways. Although giving out and maintaining wheelchairs is our primary ministry, we are involved in many other things as well. Building houses, feeding the hungry, providing education to handicapped children in orphanages and villages, and hosting a camp for the handicapped are just a small part of the things that God has given us the privilege of getting involved in. For several years now I have been keeping daily journals. Once a week I try to post new journals and pictures. My e-mail is dick@dickrutgers.com Guatemala Cell Phone # 502 5379 9451 USA Phone # 360 312 7720(Relays free to Guatemala)

Saturday, January 28, 2012

A Funny Thing Happened To Me On The Way To Insanity

For those of you who think that some of my journal entries have been too serious lately, I think that this one will make up for it. I did not think that it was all that funny at the time but after looking back on it I decided that it would be best to laugh about it, so I will do that as soon as I stop crying. I apologize for not posting more of my own pictures in this journal entry but I left my camera at home. (Had I taken it with me I would have gladly loaned it to the photographer at the driving school.)

Last Week Dave wrote about my little episode with the police stopping me and wanting to take my expired drivers license away from me. Fortunately Calin came to the rescue by telling t the police that as well as getting old I was also getting forgetful and had forgotten that January 8 had been my birthday and that my License had expired. (Thanks Calin, I think.) Anyway the police allowed me to keep my old license making it much easier for me to obtain a new one, or so I thought.

Bright and early Monday morning Ben brought me in to the drivers license department to get my license renewed. I did not want to drive because the new president is trying to crack down on things and the police and army are stopping cars at random check points between here and the city. I think that they are looking for people that are driving on expired licenses. I wonder who would be foolish enough to do that? I figured that if we got there early we could get back home on time to do other things. I figured wrong.

I have always had a truck driving endorsement on my Washington State drivers license but the law here requires that you have a Guatemalan Drivers license at least 4 years before getting that endorsement. I was told that the test was quite easy so I figured that since I had driven truck most of my life I would take the test and add it to my Guatemalan license. Little did I know just how easy the test would be. Ben had to park his car several blocks away from the drivers license department and as we walked to their office we were approached by several people asking us if we needed any help. Ben asked one them if they knew where we had to go to take the truck driving test and one young man quickly offered to guide us to the government building where we could do that. Once we entered the building he motioned for us to follow him out of a side door and into another building that looked like it was anything but an official government building. We were directed into a room where 2 young men were sitting at a table playing video games on a computer. After finishing their game one of them got up and directed us into another room and asked me to stand in front of the cleanest part of a dirty wall. He then took out his cell phone and took my picture with the camera that was on it. We then followed him back to the room that had the computer so that he and his friend could continue playing video games. About 10 minutes later the young man that we first met came into the room with some paper work in his hand. He told me that the drivers test would be 900 Q (A little over $100)

We then followed him back out of this building and into the Government building that gives the drivers tests. We went directed to the lady who gives the eye exams and she asked me to read the smallest line of letters that I could see. I am not sure weather or not she was even listening to me when I read them but she smiled at me and told me that my eyes were excellent. She then looked at the paper work that the young man had given her and told me that I had gotten an 84 on both the written part of the test that I had never taken and the driving test that I had never taken. I didn't ask but I have a feeling that another $10 could have gotten me a 100% on both tests. I was then given a receipt for 700 Q. Where did the other 200 Q go? Perhaps to buy a real camera but more than likely for more video games. I know that this all seems a bit dishonest but this is the same procedure that people go through to get their regular licenses and it is my understanding that this is the only way that you can get your license in Guatemala. Was this all there was to it. I only wish that it was.

Now that I had my drivers test out of the way all that was left was the easy part, simply renewing the license. I had all of the necessary paper work. My depei, (Guatemalan ID) my Expired Guatemalan drivers license, the test results from the test that they told me that I had just taken and last but not least, more money.

Last time I got a drivers license here I had a problem getting into the building because the Person that filled out the paper work for the test that I never took forgot to write on the test results of the test that I did not take that I did not speak Spanish. Today however the Lady that gave me the eye test made sure that they were notified that I did not speak Spanish, she even told us to tell them that the person that did not give me the test that I scored 84% on, spoke English. (If this is getting a bit confusing to you? You should be the one writing it, or the one trying to understand it in a foreign language. Let me not fail to mention that my hearing aid batteries were going dead.)

Once we were inside of this building we walked up to the friendliest looking of the 3 people that were sitting behind a table and I gave her my paper work. She scanned over my paper work and congratulated me on the good grade that I got on the truck driving test that I never took. (I thought about asking her if I could get some money back if I was willing to accept a lower passing grade but I held my tong. After looking over the rest of the paper work she told me that most of the paper work looked good but said that I had one small problem. She held up my depei (Guatemalan ID) and pointed to my name. "Your name on the depei is not the same as it is on all of your other paper work." she exclaimed. I looked at it and then some of my other papers the depei read 'Dick C...... Rutgers' all of my other papers read 'Dick C...... Rutgers.' "It all looks the same to me," I said. "No it is different." "What is different about it?" "The name is Different." "No it isn't." "Yes it is!" "No it isn't!!" "Yes............!!! This highly intelligent conversation was getting us nowhere. Finally she was able to explain to us that my name was wrong on my depei because my middle name Cordell (There now the whole world knows the name that I have been trying to keep a secret for 65 years is Cordell) was printed on the wrong line. Evidently this mysteriously made it my last name instead of my middle name and I was not allowed to have 2 last names. Thus the depei that took me over a year to get was no good. I will not go into a lot more detail except to tell you that the next 6 hours were spend standing in line, sitting in line, and driving half way across Guatemala City attempting to get my things straightened out so that I would not have to wait a year or better while they attempted to get me a new depei so that I could get a drivers license. Half way across town I finally got written permission to get my License but have only started the process of getting a new depei. Is this where the story ends? No!

When Ben and I finally got back to the license department more men approached us asking if we needed any help. We both said "NO!" One of the people that we had seen on the other side of town had promised us that he would phone ahead and tell them that we were coming and had assured us that I would have no further problems getting my drivers license. He evidently had some clout because we were treated like royalty. We were escorted to the front of the line and soon our paper work was being taken care of. My old expired license was cut into small pieces and handed back to me. (I guess their garbage can was full.) I was then directed to a room where my picture was once again taken, this time not by a cell phone. I was soon handed a brand new license and then directed back to the window where I had originally started. The lady there told me that the license that I had just received was not endorsed for trucks but only for cars so she took it from me and cut it up and gave it to me. Now my pocket was nearly as full of garbage as their garbage can was. Oh well at least it felt good to have a legal license for a few minutes. A little more paper work and I was once again in line to get my photo taken. The man taking the picture looked at me a little oddly so I told him that this time I was applying for a 5 year license instead of a 5 minute one.

It has been a long day but I am once again legal to drive in Guatemala. Oh I failed to mention that my Washington State Drivers License also expired on January 8. I guess I will worry about that the next time I go back to the States. Meanwhile I have to work on getting a new depei. Oh well the last one only took 14 months to get.

Funny thing I didn't get much accomplished today but I feel strangely tired. I hope that I can sleep well tonight, because the last few nights I have been having this reoccurring dream that my doctor calls me and tells me that I am so old that they have canceled my blood type.

Yours in Christ: Dick Cordell
,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,..,, Rutgers

...........Not: ...... ..Dick
........................Cordell Rutgers


Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is a wonderful story. I am still laughing, sorry I know it is at your expense but it is priceless. Becky Cupp

Monday, January 30, 2012  

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