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Getting Sammy's Papers

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Posted Aug 13, 09:46 PM


Our vet told us that effective July 1 there is a new law in Panama so that people leaving with their pets only need to go to one government office to complete the paperwork, not 4 as previously was required.


Our vet told us that effective July 1 there is a new law in Panama so that people leaving with their pets only need to go to one government office to complete the paperwork, not 4 as previously was required.

WELL

We went this morning to that office and guess what! The woman there said, “Oh no, I can’t do this without a signature and stamp from the Minister of Health. Never mind that we explained what the vet told us. Never mind that we had the vet speak directly to her, off we went to the Minister of Health.

It is situated in what seems to be an old hospital complex. In reality, it is a rabbit warren of offices that are old, in bad repair, dirty and more of a maze than anything else.

The taxi driver asked several people where we should go and finally left us at a particular building. After asking another man where to go, we finally arrived at the office — only to discover it was the office for bringing animals INTO the country, not for animals LEAVING the country.

She directed us to the building across the street and said we should go to the 2nd floor. On our way there we met a man in a Minestero de Salud uniform who asked where we were going. He took us under his wing and shepherded us through the maze. First we went to one office where they gave us a piece of paper that we then had to take to a completely different building upstairs, downstairs, inside, outside till we were completely lost. At that office we paid $10 and were off to return to the first office.

But were we done then? Of course not! That lady gave us a paper that we had to take to yet another building (actually the first building we were in) to another office where the lady there told us to come back tomorrow after 7:30 to pick up the signed document.

Tomorrow I will go back there to pick up that document and then I have to go back to the office where we went this morning. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that we will get the final paperwork tomorrow but it might be another day or too — everything in Central America takes longer than expected to happen.

In addition to what I’ve already described, we also had to go to a bank this morning to deposit $2 — yes that’s $2 — into an account held by the government office and buy $6 in government stamps.

More to follow after tomorrow’s adventure.


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