The Road After Losing a Passport


We have all lost something in our lives. Losing something might happen within a blink of an eye or it can be a process. But it is the recuperation period which is the hardest; the most tasking and interesting to talk about.

Recently I lost my passport when heading to work. I only realized after I had reached three quarters of my journey.

The first thing I did was not to panic. I calmed myself down. I didn’t create a drama, neither raised my blood pressure. This helped me stay in control of the situation and helped me to focus.

If you’re within the reach of a glass of water, drink it: just do something to calm yourself down.

Then I decided to retrace my steps back to my house, looking careful on both sides of the road. I also stopped and asked people as I passed just in case someone had seen it. But there was nothing on the road until I reached my abode. I then ruled that someone had already picked it up.

In the world we have different sorts of people: those who want to hurt us, going an extra mile to do so; and those who want to help us, striving to lessen the burdens of our lives. I didn’t know which one of those had my passport.

As these thoughts ate my brain I decided to head back to work to report about the incident. Reporting to the first person who can help you is paramount especially when you’re abroad and unaware of the procedure in such situations.

In my case my employer was unaware on how to proceed; putting two birds in the dark. To shade on some lights I got on the phone and call the Immigration back in Tanzania. I was told that I needed to report to the nearby Embassy of Tanzania which is in Brasilia, Brazil.

I then got on the phone and called them. They told me I needed a police report and an ad in the newspaper as a proof of the incident and my efforts to look for it.

I then proceeded to the newspaper office, El Impulso and made an announcement. After I did that, I headed to the nearby police station to report the occurrence. But then I was told I had to go to a special section dealing with foreigners called the Extranjería.

But even after arriving there I was told to go to another place dealing with lost passports and the sort. With the help of two friends, it took me 30 minutes to get there. This was the part of the city which I had never been and most Venezuelans themselves have never been.

A friendly gentleman attended me. After my explanation, he got on his computer and wrote me the Constancia de Denuncia. With this I would use it as my “passport” until I get a new one. Also I can use it as a police report the Embassy needs.

After the announcement had come out, I attached it with the Constancia and had it sent to Brazil through courier service. The Embassy was kind enough to provide me with a letter, translated into Spanish that I could use to confirm the process of making a new visa.

Undergoing this process taught me many things. I had to ask a lot of questions on how things are done here in Venezuela concerning lost identity cards and the sort.

One thing I learned was that no one goes to the police here when they lose something. The main thing being they are not trusted. So in case people pick up lost documents, they hand them over to radio stations, if they are kind enough not to throw it in the thrash.

Thus I had to find the telephone numbers of about 20 radio stations and ring them up. Though none had the report of a lost passport, they obliged to make an announcement in case there was a person who was looking for a way to return it.

A no brainer in such situation is to print notices and place them along the route where the tragedy happened. I thus printed 50 copies and placed them. Sad to say they were all removed in two days time.

The funny thing is, it is common here in Venezuela for posters and other materials stack alongside streets to be removed by random hooligans. Thus it is wise, to not spend too much money to print them.

The process taught me a lesson. Not the one of being careful but being responsible for others’ properties. A week down the road, I happened to pick up an ID of a woman while going back from work.

As the ID had the address of the lady, I contacted a Venezuelan friend to help me return to the woman. She was thankful and surprised as people don’t normally do this here. I guess this is how I would want to be treated: it is all about karma.

But you need not to stress yourself. Just know it’s a learning experience and you will get a new passport with a beautiful recent photo.

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Comments

  1. very important topic and something one must keep in mind

  2. You are right about karma. I had a similar thing happen to me on a trip I took to Rome but it had a much less stressful conclusion. I lost my passport during the day but had no idea it was missing. Fortunately, I had an Okoban tracer tag on my passport. A waiter where I ate lunch found it and entered my tracker number on the Okoban website and I was sent a text message (and an email) before I ever even knew my passport was missing. Lucky for me because I was leaving in the morning for Germany and getting a new passport would have been impossible. The tags are available through http://www.mystufflostandfound.com. It saved my trip and I now have them on almost everything that goes with me on a trip, and like you I feel the oblgation to pay back with some good-will gestures of my own.
    Bob Hobson, Chicago, IL

    • Stephen Obed Swai says:

      This is very interesting cause when I lost my passport I started thinking why they haven’t come up with a chip that we can place in our valuable things and track them down when lost. And you writing this hits home. I will consult this website and make sure I have my stuff tagged. This is very important.

      Thanks for sharing about this.

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