I picked my emergency passport this morning. A small triumph in what has been test of patience over the several days. Things started to unravel following the public action we did on Ash Wednesday in front of the INCODER offices.
Several CPT teams members and some community members from Las Pavas and Garzal arrived in Bogota about 5:30 AM after an overnight trip via chartered bus. We had some time to clean up, eat breakfast, and meet with other CPTers already in Bogota to finalize plans for the action. We had planned to leave our personal belongings at the church, but there was a miscommunication and backpacks got loaded back on to the bus. In my case, it was everything I had brought to Colombia, because I was going to remain in Bogota for meetings till my flight on Monday.
Our driver, Mauricio, who has driven for the team several years, dropped us in front of INCODER and left to clean up the bus. He was to return and pick us up about 11 AM, but didn’t show. The team was to return to Barranca about 2 PM after lunch. We waited all afternoon puzzled and worried. I ended up heading to the home of the MCC friends who were hosting me.
Thursday morning I returned to the church and learned that Mauricio had been held up by two well-dressed men posing as potential clients interested in renting the bus for another group. He was drugged and didn’t wake till late in the evening and was finally able to talk his way free. The bus and its contents remain missing. Since another CPTer (Eloy) and I had lost passports we needed to go to the police station to testify when Mauricio filed his official report. That took about 4 ½ hours. They were four chairs in the waiting room, and the police said that sitting on the curb outside was a security risk. Eloy and I managed to make to the embassy with our documentation in time to only make an appointment for the following day.
Friday morning the embassy informed me that I had everything I needed to receive my emergency passport that day. That was the good news. The bad news was that, for the first time ever, the global network for issuing the passport I needed was down. Several hours later, it was clear that no passport would be issued till Monday. Then there were a couple trips to the airport to get my ticket changed. They needed proof that I had been robbed so I didn’t have to pay the fee for changing flights.
I’m sharing all this only because I don’t want to have to tell it a gazillion times when I get back. It wasn’t traumatic for me personally, just a nuisance. Mauricio is safe. My valuable belongings were mostly old, like my iPod and the camera I bought used from my son several years ago. I did have to spring for another set of clothes so I could wash things. Most of the clothes I brought with me, as you know, came from a thrift store somewhere. I will miss my nice camping sandals and the new raincoat I bought this summer. And I am temporarily without any pictures to share with you, also, because the CD with my files from this month in Colombia are still in the bus somewhere. I’ll get my file copied and sent up with the next CPTer heading north.
Thanks for the support and prayers.