One of the weird dichotomies that I saw living in Morocco was that it was actually easier to buy Alcohol in an Islamic nation in Africa than it is to buy alcohol in the state of Pennsylvania. But here’s another dichotomy: the paperwork process.
Everyone complains about beaurocracy in Morocco. The only real paperwork I had to do was get my residence permit. For this, I had to go to the town council and get officially stamped photocopies of my passport and such. Then, I had to take them to the City Hall and fill out some paperwork. With the photocopies and a stamp (purchased from a convenience store) in hand, I returned to the City Hall with the filled-out paperwork. After that, they twiddled around a little bit, asking for a letter from the University I was at and such like, but here’s the thing: when they made up some silly shit for me to go get, the told me what that silly shit was and where to get it. After only one round of being turned away to go get some silly superfluous folderol, I submitted the paperwork and was issued my permit.
Now here’s how things work in America. Well, more specifically at my university, Drexel University. Right after I got to Morocco, I was told that there was a hold on my account because I was listed as having not paid for health insurance in 2005. That’s right, they waited 3 years to get money I owed them. Because of this, I was unable to register for classes. So my time in Morocco has so far, from an official standpoint, counted for bugger all. That’s British, I think, for not a gall-darned thing.
Anyway, I can’t take care of this hold from Africa. Both my bank and the bursar’s office tell me to come in in person. So I come back to America. Friday, I try and go to the library and they tell me I can’t get in because the hold has deactivated my card. So today I go to the card office. They tell me that because I have a hold, I can’t have my card activated.
I then go to the insurance office. They say I look like I’m fine, but they don’t handle the billing. I have to go to the Bursar’s office. At the bursar’s office they say there are not any holds on my account, and that furthermore, no other university entity can put a hold on my account. So I’m free and clear, right?
I go back to the card office, and they tell me that there is a hold on my account and have I gone to talk to the bursar’s office yet?
Now which of these two things sounds better? Doing paperwork IN THE THIRD WORLD is SUBSTANTIALLY easier than here at my home university. Doing paperwork at my University, which is in the US, makes me think things like “this would be easier IF I WAS IN AFRICA.”
What happened here? It’s like I’m in the Twilight Zone.