Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Our MP Experience Part 1

MP stands for Ministerio Público in Spanish.  It is part police station, part City Hall and part Circuit Court.  It is the catch-all for any crime or misdemeanor committed, the starting place for reporting everything from a stolen vehicle, a house invasion or a domestic dispute.  It also has to be one of the most inefficient and disorganized entities known to man.

I knew where the MP was because I had previously helped two friends when their vehicles were stolen…a 2005 Toyota Sienna minivan in one case, and a 2003 VW Bug in the other.   When Mayra called me with the dramatic news that she had been robbed, I grabbed the van papers, some money to whatever, and picked her up.  After that we drove directly to the MP.

It took us 6 hours and two days before we were successfully able to report the vehicle stolen.  Why?  Well, first of all, no one explains the process to you.  You sort of have to figure it out, by trial and error.  Also, everyone who needs attention has to sign in on a large book.  After waiting about an hour, someone asked us if we had signed in.  Nope.  Oh well, just an hour, right?  Turns out we needed to report the theft via telephone to no less than four different legal entities.  Each entity gave us a número de folio, or a case number, which needed to be recorded on the form that we were given by a less-than-helpful young man behind the counter.  Once we finally figured out the process, we began calling numbers.  The first number could not be called from a cell phone.  Why?  I have no idea.  So I went to the only pay phone in the waiting area.  Out of order.  We had some success with the two other numbers, but the fourth one put us on hold…then cut us off.  For about two hours this went on, as I dutifully fed pre-paid phone cards to my cell phone credit.  We finally gave up and went home.  In the peacefulness of our house we completed the remaining calls, and returned the next day, determined to finish the process.

We returned the next day determined to finish the stolen vehicle report, and after about two and a half hours did in fact do so.  Victory!  During this time a group of people, actually two groups of people, made their way into the waiting area.  After about 30 minutes, a man entered and communicated something to a group of four women, all huddled together.  They immediately started screaming and sobbing.  No, papá, this can’t be.  I don’t believe it.  Papá!  Shortly thereafter, an older woman, probably pushing seventy, came over and tore into a group of men on the other side of the room, calling them every name in the book.  I’m quite sure we were witnessing a modern day Mexican Hatfield and McCoy confrontation, with a man’s life lost in the conflict.  It was not the last colorful happening seen at the MP.

We returned home and I sent an email to the mission notifying them of the progress we had made with reporting the stolen vehicle, and making sure that insurance covered theft of the entire vehicle.  It did.  We would lose around $6000 due to the robbery, but at least we would not lose everything.  Mayra and I talked about perhaps driving our 2003 Astro this summer, from here to Colorado to Michigan to Pennsylvania to New Jersey and back to Mexico.  Would it make it?  We would see.  We also received some helpful calls and emails from people at our mission, expressing concern and support for the traumatic experience that Mayra had gone through.  We thank them for that!

Quote of the Day:  We want to lower the bar of how church is done and raise the bar of what it means to be a disciple.  Neil Cole

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