February 26, 2009

The continuing saga of my mail

I’ve written before about how I get my mail at the hospital and how sometimes the folks at the hospital have a hard time getting to the post office to pick up the mail. When I went to check on the mail the other week, there was none - no surprise - and I asked if I could give someone a ride to the post office to get the mail.

“No,” my friend there replied. “The problem is the hospital has not paid the bill at the post office. The post office won’t let us take the mail.”

I decided to let the matter lie that day but came back a few days later to ask again. They still didn’t have any mail as the hospital still had not paid the bill. I decided to put a little pressure on and began asking a series of friendly questions.

It turns out the provincial government in Bisho has put some sort of freeze on purchases so everything needs to be approved by there. This purchase had not been approved and so the post office cut off service. My friends in the mail room assured me they personally thought it was very important that the hospital get mail but had been unable to similarly convict any of their managers or supervisors.

“When is something going to happen?” I asked vainly.

“Just wait until Jacob Zuma is president and then all your problems will be solved,” said one of the employees, putting a wee bit too much faith in the results of April’s elections. More seriously, he added, “We are planning a strike on this matter next Wednesday in front of the manager’s offices.” I think he meant demonstration and I think he was trying to impress me.

I’ll be impressed when I get all those back issues of The Economist.

(P.S. It is a public hospital and a public postal agency. When the money gets paid really what happens is it gets transferred from one line on a government’s budget to another. It seems so minor and insignificant but it’s major enough to cause me grief.)