Frustrations of the season

This is definitely the worst time of the year to be in Dakar, probably why most people go on holiday at this time. It's not just the rain, but the associated power cuts, and the mosquitoes and ants that are everywhere.

Then you become just a little frazzled, finding yourself with rather less patience than usual to deal with the usual frustrations of life here.

In a much earlier post I wrote a little about my frustrations with the Senegalese banking system, and they continue. My chequebook was nearly finished, and having not received a new one I tore out the little 'demand de chequiers' page, filled it in, and found an envelope; only to realise that there was no address anywhere in the chequebook nor on my bank statements. So I made my way to the bank one Saturday. Of course it was closed, but I had expected to deposit my form through their letter box. Silly girl! Of course there are no letter boxes in Senegal, as there are no postmen to deliver letters (instead you rent a postbox at the post office), so I gave my form to the security guard to deliver for me.

Eight months later, having heard nothing, I finally discovered that Senegalese banks do not mail chequebooks - you have to go to the bank to sign for their receipt. So I sneaked out of work and visited the bank. I queued until it was my turn to go to the counter, to be told that chequebooks were dealt with in an office round the corner. I waited again. It seemed they had long since lost or thrown away the form I had delivered, but they found me a new one and I filled it in. It would take five working days to get a chequebook, so I would have to come back again (more taxi fares) to collect it and sign for receipt.

I went back this afternoon. The bank was shut; it is Ramadan (the Muslim fasting period) when apparently the banks keep different hours. Tomorrow I am travelling again. I begin to wonder whether I will ever get this new chequebook, and reflect that it is the little complications like this - things that are so much easier and quicker to achieve in a developed country - that can make life here so very frustrating.

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