Have you ever wondered what purgatory is like? I’m here to tell you that it does exist in the form of the Kenya Posta Parcel Retrieval Office, and it goes a little something like this….

Step 1: Enter building.

Step 2: Take the elevator to second floor.

Step 3: Hand yellow slip to woman who retrieves your parcel. Show identification.

Step 6: Open your parcel.

Step 4: Wait in parcel assessment (this will take a while)

Step 5: Assessment Man assesses the value of your parcel.

Step 6: Tape your opened parcel back together.

Step 7: Hand repackaged parcel to Assessment Man, who gives you a receipt.

Step 8: Take receipt to Customer Cashier.

Step 9: Receive duplicate receipt from Customer Cashier (whose desk is so far away from the window that she retrieves and gives pieces of paper to customers by sliding them across the counter with a long yardstick.)

Step 10: Take original receipt and duplicate receipt to Assessment Man, who stamps them both furiously before tucking them away in a little wooden drawer. Assessment Man hands you a third receipt, with your parcel and points you toward the woman sitting unnecessarily far away from him at the other end of the counter.

Step 11: Give Far Away Woman your third receipt, show identification, again, and pay (in my case, a whopping 70 shillings, or 93 cents). Don’t worry – she’ll give you a fourth receipt.

Step 12: On your way out, stop and give Man Guarding Door your passport number and sign his (security?) sheet.

Step 13: Take elevator to ground floor.

Step 14: Show passport and receipt numero quatro to Actual Security Guard as you exit the premises.

Step 15: Vow never to complain about long lines at the DC DMV ever, ever again.

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