Tuesday, June 10, 2014

the congolese perfection of: CONFUSE & DIFFUSE

ooooh boy have these congolese...so sneaky!....conniving!...masters at the art of confuse and diffuse. this is a process i invented! i am almost in awe.

my current defeat before the civil aviation administrion was met with one glimmer of hope on my last day. i got our office director to make one last threatening phone call to argue our case. before he can even finish a sentence the director says, "but why are you calling, we have a meeting later today, we can talk face to face." wha? we have been trying to get a meeting all week but they have been avoiding us. so of course our guy says, yeah sure, we know about the meeting, see you then.
but we have no idea when the meeting is. this is their strategy, then they can say we never showed up. zing. so sneaky. so i send our driver over to their offices to sniff it out. he goes to the front desk and glances over the book. it's at 4 pm. oddly late for a meeting, but perfect. all the time in the world to plan.
but gahh, like before any meeting you have to herd cats. where is the driver, he was just here, why did he go out now to buy phone credit, who has the keys, these are the wrong keys, why does this car have no gas and piles of bags of rubber boots in it, do we have all the documents etc...it's madness. so we go. the plan that we amass as many white people as we can to just fill his tiny office. i grab the south african guy who doesn't even speak french. he's tying his shoes, come on Buddy! or we'll leave you behine!

the director of CAA is not happy, he speaks very softly, you can barely hear his voice over the noisy air conditioner. he gets feisty, saying we haven't followed protocol. what protocol? and then he weaves through the process, perfectly confusing us...but we did that...we sent that letter...you already received that...but we...then he changes the steps, saying that comes after this step and before that step but in between the middle step and by the end we have no idea what the heck is going on. drats. he says there is one critical letter missing. i turn to my logistics guy, seriously serge, out of the 50 letters we sent last week, i recall writing that letter..the director says he never saw it. we don't have it with us. crap.
so where do we stand now?

"but your permit to import the plane has been approved, all your paperwork is in order." which is a distinct change from the tune we heard yesterday. but who cares! we are happy! success! i grab the folder, scan it over, all stamped and stuff, looks good! the plane can start flying here tomorrow! woohoo!

back at the Office I scan the import permit...wait, it has the wrong license number for the plane. if we bring "a different" plane they will not let it in. fffffuuuuuuu%&$%.
the project manager goes through our files and finds the letter the director says he never received - it is stamped with his signature, dated more than a week ago. double fffffuuuuuu%&%.

we've been totally outsmarted.
it is now 17h30. of course the offices are closed now. director is gone for the day and probably won't show up until 11 am tomorrow. we will lost another 48 hours on this.

i have to commend them for their brilliance in deceiving us. even i wouldn't have thought of that...oh, you win this round, congo, but this is not the end!! now i want to fight more than ever!!  

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