Yesterday I had the mandatory opportunity to do something I have avoided like the plague since moving to Haiti.
You think you hate going to the bank. If it's because you think it's boring, try it again in any fifth world country.
Mostly I have avoided it (to be honest) because anytime you hear about someone getting shot, well. It's coming out of the bank.
But after being at the bank yesterday, I'm pretty sure just as many of those shootings actually happen IN the bank. Everyone and their mother had a gun. I've never seen so many guns with my own eyes in my life.
At any rate, it couldn't be avoided. Leme and I both had to be added to the Seminary's bank account so that I could sign checks when Matt's not here, and so that Leme can get money when I'm not here. And you have to go in person and sign your life away.
Upon coming in, two guards laced with guns stopped to wand each person. However, whether you were a person who set the thing off screaming, or someone naive like me who didn't know to bring a gun and kept it silent, after being wanded, you enter. Regardless.
Matt would insert here some comment about how he DID bring his guns, and flex for you 'till you rolled your eyes.
So we do enter, and there are at least forty people in line...but the bank manager goes to Emanie's church, and as soon as Matt catches his eye, he whisks us off and plops us down before the most unpleasant sassy woman you've ever met in your life.
This bank bidness is SERIOUS.
As she went to get our papers and Matt left to get in a different intimidating looking line, Leme and I decided our goal (mostly to help distract myself from worst-case-scenario thoughts of all the guns and the fact that Matt and I were both there, and who might raise our children) would be to crack grouchy lady.
Passports, visas, drivers licenses, ID cards and so many French forms later, we still had not succeeded. Then, we had to sign our names, exactly the same each time, on ten different slips of paper to solidify EXACTLY what our signatures look like, with ANY deviation being met by a HUGE exasperated sigh from our stone-faced friend, who snatched and shredded the paper with her claws.
Then, we had to start filling out paperwork about our dependents, for some reason. Maybe because of all the guns. All their ages and full names and birthrates.
She was rather irritated with my belly, because still sure I could crack her before Leme, I kept insisting that my belly is VERY dependent upon me right now, but that I didn't have a birthdate. And what names would she like the baby to have? This culture is very gaga about babies.
I'm sure I softened her up. But Leme, he succeeded. She asked about his wife, and he has none. She asked about his children, to which he has none. But when she continued on with other questions, he volunteered the fact that he has a girlfriend, and wouldn't she like to hear about his girlfriend? This culture is even MORE gaga about romance.
She insisted that she had no interest on her paper about his girlfriend.
Leme fell dead silent.
"You have no interest in my girlfriend?" he asked wide-eyed. "I am inSULTED" he clucked dramatically, starting to grin.
"You really should see a picture," I insisted to Frozen. "She's a LOVELY girl."
When Leme started to pull out his wallet, still grinning and pretending to be mad at the same time, she finally lost it. Her laughter was as sweet as her countenance had been sour.
But it made two of the gun guards glare at us and she had to apologize.
Still, it was then that we finally hear about her life and family...something you'd never NOT hear about in any other context. Next time (though I hope there never will be), we will have a friend.
There was only one more thing to do...stand in line and pay the fee for being added. Leme volunteered to go, so I sat and waited while Not-so-frozen-anymore ushered Leme into a line apart from everyone else.
It wasn't until he'd been standing in it for 20 minutes that I realized why his line had way less people. He was standing next to this HUGE sign (like ridiculously big) that said, "This line is for large pregnant women, extremely aged people, and those who are severely handicapped."
Thank you, all those lovely adjectives.
I started to giggle, one, because apparently that was MY line, and two, because Leme was in it unaware, smiling sweetly, and the other guys would LOVE a picture of that, so I pulled out my phone to take a picture.
And that was when I almost got shot at the bank.
Add: "Do Not Take Pictures At The Bank" to list of things I have learned this crazy life in Haiti.