Since it seems that our neighbor is unwilling to cooperate and the conjunto’s Administrator is dragging his feet, we initiated the legal process today. Like everything else here, it was an interesting experience. Our nanny’smom, Saige and I took a buseta (a local bus that’s the size of a big van) to the police station. We were crammed into a tiny space with about 20 people and saved about a $1 over the price of a taxi. But I wanted the experience of riding a buseta. Plus, it’s better for the environment to ride public transport.
At the central police station, the attending officer did not seem too engaged by our alarm story and barely looked up from his computer. Even Saige flirting with him didn’t remove the bored look from his face. He basically tried to get rid of us by telling us that we had to go to another police station. Our nanny’s mom however knows how to work the system and insisted with great flattery -“Oh the police in Chia have always been so helpful to me and my foundation! I know you can be helpful again. Let me just talk to the officer in charge of these complaints.” He eventually let us in to talk to the person in charge of the complaints, an officer who had about 10 huge boxes full of pending burglary, armed muggings, domestic violence and child abuse files to attend to. And here we were with our alarm complaint.
This officer seemed only slightly more interested in our plight that the first one. Our nanny’s mom had to tell him that we are foreigners and aren’t used to such annoyances as alarms going off at 5 am (I was starting to feel slightly ridiculous. There are some really serious problems in this country! But at 5 am, this feels like a very serious problem to us so…). The officer perked up a little when our nanny’s mom told him that Esteban works for an international aid organization (apparently that has some cache here) and that she runs a foundation for women (his wife is studying at the University and doing her thesis on domestic violence in Colombia). He agreed to take on our case and sent us to the tienda (store) next door to buy the form he would have to fill out. Yes, you pay for everything here. He filled out the form and told us that the police would be available to come to serve the complaint to the neighbor in March 2012 (!!!) Ay, no! Is it time for a little “propina” (tip)?
Our nanny’s mom is a master at this so again with great flattery about the helpfulness of the Chia police department, she started to talk about her foundation and all the work it has done to combat domestic violence in Colombia. Would the officer’s wife like to come to talk to her and learn about their work for her thesis? Why, yes! And now a police officer will be available to come to serve the complaint as early as this evening. The complaint will ask the neighbor (and us) to appear at the police station at 10 am on Friday to resolve this issue. If she doesn’t show up, the police will go to her house and bring her into the police station. Much better! Stay tuned for the next installment of the alarm saga…
As an aside, our housekeeper came up to our third floor bedroom while I was writing this to ask if she could bring me anything to eat or drink while I am working. I was so stunned and embarrassed that I croaked out “no, gracias.” I am told by Colombian friends that I will get over my gringa embarrassment of being served. They are probably right… but I don’t want to get used to this. What ever will I do back in Boston?