Lines around the City

An observation frequently made by fellow foreigners: Bolivians are sure good at standing in line. My drive to and from our Monday morning run took us by various lines.

>> SCHOOLS: This is the back to school season. It is first come first serve to sign your kids up at the public schools. So there were some parents who pupped tents and slept in front of the schools to save their spot in line.

>> BIRTH CERTIFICATES: In order to sign your kids up for school you have to present an original birth certificate. So all the parents of kindergartners and people transferring their kids to a new school have to stand in line to get the birth certificate from the central court or other satellite offices around town.

>> FOOD AND GAS: Evidently there is a shortage of sugar, flour and cooking gas (products supplemented by government funding). So there were lines around town of people hoping to get their portion.

>> I.D. CARDS: I know for certain there is a daily line at the place down town to get the Bolivian i.d. card; even more so with the start of the school year when each child must present a valid card for entrance.

>> CLINICS: I also know that there are various free or reduced costs medical clinics (also government subsidized) around town with lines forming on the sidewalks surrounding their buildings on a daily basis. A woman told me she went at four in the morning to get help for her child. She had to stand in line until eight to find out if she was there early enough. The clinic opened and they let the allotted number of people file in. A four hour wait just to find out she was too late; they sent her away.

When was the last time you stood in line outside for hours for a basic service such as food, education or medical care? Waiting rooms with seating and magazines, offices that make (and subsequently keep) appointments by phone, and online conveniences mustn’t be taken for granted.

Some pictures from our hunt for gas after the run. The trucks haven’t been running as I speak about in this vlog: Cooking with Gas. So other remedies had to be found. I am grateful for our truck so that we could haul our tanks. Most people must utilize public transportation which includes long walking as well. (Thumbnails can be clicked to see the bigger picture.)


3 thoughts on “Lines around the City

  1. I loved seeing the photos that went with your words!! And, I smiled and felt like I could relate – the lines upon lines that are so common in South Africa forced me to acquire some patience and a sense of “chill out”!!

    Hugs to you today!

  2. Great “Day in the life” pictures Angie.

    Probably the #1 quality we fast paced American are lacking is patience. If our internet page takes more than a minute to load our head explodes.

    Everybody should spend some time living in a country where the pace of life, and culture, is significantly different. Its one of the best learning experiences we can have.

    The only time I had to spend hours in line was in the Army, in 1964 – 67, where the motto was “Hurry up and wait.”

  3. Hey, there, I’m a missionary in Peru and totally understand nearly everything you said here! I loved reading someone else’s experience, so thanks for sharing!

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