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I really cannot believe how convoluted the whole legal process is. Ever since my Mom passed away I have been trying through my lawyer to get the court to issue what is essentially a statement about who her heirs are. Either I have the most inefficient lawyer on earth, or the whole system is just mad.
The number of legal documents needed for this supposedly simple procedure is mind boggling. And the amount of time you need to spend at the different governmental offices to get said documents is an exercise in frustration. But if I do not get that statement I cannot access my inheritance! So it is a must.
The latest document my lawyer asked me to get for him is an official birth certificate for me, showing my Mom’s name as mother, and an official birth certificate for my (deceased) Mom showing her father’s name. All this to prove that I am her daughter and that she is related to her cousin so that I have the right to apply to the pertinent governmental office requesting yet another document concerning her cousin. Don’t ask me why!
So yesterday, like a good little girl I trotted out to get these certificates. I had to drive thirty five kilometers to the office where our files are. Just a side note: the price of gas has been hiked this week! Anyway, I got there in good time, then went to the pertinent office – three floors up with no lift – and stood in the “Ladies” queue. Of course anywhere governmental there are queues, and being a conservative country there is one for men and one for ladies. The way each governmental entity deals with these queues is different. Some who are strictly religious apply the famous Islamic edict of each man having the share of two women by taking the application of two men, then one woman. Equality? Out of the window. Thank God this particular office was handling it one of each.
We were standing in the hallway, and maybe the only other place that I found to be just as filthy, was the court a few weeks back. Cobwebs stuck to all the corners up to the ceiling, and although the color of the wall was a bright pink, it was dulled down to a slightly muddy color by all the dirt.
Interestingly enough, though this is an official governmental office, stuck on the wall was one of those signs plastered by the MB asking if you had prayed for the Prophet today! There had been an attempt at taking it off, as part of it was torn, but it was taped back on. This is very indicative of the dichotomy of the Egyptian people. The majority is still ignorantly religious.
When I first took my place in line I counted seven women before me, so it wasn’t too bad. But after half an hour, and after at least four of them had finished their business and left, I was still number eight in line. No, that wouldn’t do. So in a fairly loud voice I made that observation and asked how come? A chorus of women started complaining about all those who jumped the queue, and from then on things got better. In another twenty minutes I had reached the window to submit my request.
I needed three copies of my birth certificate and two copies of my Mom’s birth certificate. To be able to apply you have to submit your ID card with your national number. As everything has been computerized, this makes for very easy access. So I gave the employee there my ID card, but my Mom’s had been taken to issue her death certificate, so all I had was her death certificate to ask for her birth certificate! No problem. The employee took both my ID card and my Mom’s death certificate and started retrieving the data. In less than a minute she printed all five copies, I gave her the money and left the line. It is a good thing I looked at what she gave me, for there were three copies of my birth certificate, and two copies of my Mom’s DEATH certificate, not the birth certificate I had asked for! I immediately went back to the top of the queue, told the people standing there that I was given the wrong certificates and went to the employee again. She had the grace to apologize and immediately issued the right certificates, but I had to pay again! Finally I was done.
Now for the hassle of getting these certificates to the lawyer downtown. That is another story.

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