15.10 – 16.20.
HOT AND HORRIBLE. The waiting-room was packed, every seat taken, with an overflow outside. But it was more comfortable outside, in spite of the heat, because the air-conditioning inside couldn’t cope with the crowds who had been there since morning.
Progress was terribly slow. When we arrived, the number on the screen showed that only 77 applicants for magnetic cards had been admitted since morning! (The few people who came for permits were admitted right away.) When we phoned, a soldier explained that the equipment in the office (the computer?) was at fault and this was the cause of the delay. However, soon after, there was some progress and, by the time we left at 16.20 (unfortunately we had to leave early), the number had reached 115. We had already suggested/requested that some officer come to the waiting-room, both to see what the conditions were like and also to explain to the very resentful, hot, tired, thirsty people about the delay – and also to advise people with high numbers that it was not worthwhile waiting any longer. Clearly they would not manage to be admitted. But – perhaps unsurprisingly – this suggestion was not taken up.
We also complained about the air-conditioning. It was set at 20 degrees, but seldom seemed to be blowing, But there was no change.
The one saving feature – whether by design or because the apparatus was faulty - that loud, irritating repeated set of instructions wasn’t blaring today.