Monday, March 7, 2011

Paperwork and Beaurocracy Part 2

After writing the last blog entry, I realized that I had left out a very important way in which beaurocratic inefficiency GREATLY affects my life here in Honduras. My husband is a taxi driver... sort of (I realize I never blogged about getting married but I got married to an amazing Honduran man at the courthouse back in September 2010, and our big white poufy dress ceremony is in just a few weeks!).

I say sort of because after buying our own taxi (so he would no longer have to pay 60-80% of his daily income to the owner of the car), we have had ridiculous amounts of trouble with the paperwork. Due to two major paperwork incidents and a major repair, my husband has only been able to legally work the taxi for 4 weeks out of the 6 months we have owned it. This has been EXTREMELY frustrating to him because he wants to work and feel useful in life, and also because he's trying to do things the best way he can and be completely legal in everything. There are plenty of illegal taxis working in the streets and he doesn't want to be one of them.

The most frustrating part is the illlusion of the wait times. I'm the kind of person that gets annoyed when I'm on a car trip or something and someone says "we're almost there" when there is about an hour and a half left to go. Please don't tell me we're almost there until there are like 5 or 10 minutes left because I will falsely get my hopes up. Piece of paperwork #1: Cambio de Unidad (changing a taxi number from one car to another). They told us it would take 2 weeks. It took 2 months. The whole time, hubby was under the illusion that the paper was about to arrive, just any day now... so he thought he was being patient, and didn't look for other jobs.

As soon as the Cambio de Unidad arrived, we had the taxi working for about 1.5 weeks when the car broke down, like major engine repairs. Hubby was fixing the car while I was in the States for Christmas and finally got it up and running in early January (with a major investment of DINERO!!!). He was only working for about 2 weeks when the Transitos (traffic police) stopped him. His car is already kind of a target because it has a "high" number (anything over 600). Basically, as far as I can tell, here in Comayagua there were only 600 legal taxi numbers, but Mel's administration released almost 200 additional numbers 601-799 because there were lots of young people out of work and taxi driving is a good option when you can't get hired by a store or a company. Many of these higher numbers are considered to be illegitimate and there was even talk of revoking them (we were worried!). Anyway we are renting the number and the owner of the number is a lawyer (Lawyering isn't lucrative enough for ya???) so he has at least (if not SLOWLY) been helping us ensure that the paperwork is up to snuff.

The Transitos said that there was an "inconsistency" in the taxi's paperwork, and everything had to be sent back to Tegucigalpa to be corrected. They said it would take 2 days. Yep, that's right, it's been 2 MONTHS again. This whole time my husband was basically denied the right to work in his own taxi because of stupid paperwork. It's no wonder many people do work illegally because it has been excruciating to try to play by the rules.

If you are the praying type, please pray for a little more grease in the wheels of Honduran government (really, at all levels) and also for our situation.