I refused to accept what some people told me was "the reality here" and was certain that I could fight this until we got proper roads everywhere the local road building authorities still owed them to us. I also did not want to mention this at one of our regular meetings with the vice minister even though I was told that that would "solve everything in a minute". I believe that building a couple of short roads by the organisation which was created precisely for this very purpose should not involve a vice minister.
At some point, when we exhausted most of our options with little result, one of the locals told me (rounding his eyes a lot) that I "should see HER".
SHE, I was told, was one of the vice mayors of the nearby town. And even though usually it would not make much sense to see a vice mayor for this thing (because of the messed up way of how the reporting lines work here), I was told that she was definitely the solution because "she is the only one who does things right away" (oh boy that's a quality hard to come by here) and "everyone is afraid of her, regardless of whether they report to her or not, nobody wants her to get on their asses because she is scary".
I made an appointment. The hall in front of her office was crowded, a lot of people were waiting to see her. The scary woman turned out to be in her early forties, still extremely attractive and with a very feline body language and a surprisingly plunging neckline for a vice mayor during office hours (and a chest worthy of that neckline). She started making calls while we were still telling our story to her and was quickly put through to the guy who caused all the mess with the roads for us. She talked to him for about a minute very quietly and with a smile but the eyes of the locals who I was with did this:
I asked one of the locals what did she say to the guy and was told that she ended the conversation with "If you do not stop playing your bloody games, which I am very tired of by now right away, I will tear your asshole into a German cross."
- A German cross?
- That means "a swastika".
She then walked out from behind of her desk to shake hands with us and it turned out that she was wearing I-don't-know-how-many-but-a-lot-inch black shiny heels with red soles.
This was one of the very rare occasions when I enjoyed dealing with seemingly a very dominant woman, I am generally very much not a fan.
I asked the locals if they thought it would move now and if the guy would even care given that she was not his boss really and so far he was able to resist all possible pressures from the mayor's office and did not care much. The locals told me "Yeah, it will be completely different now that she agreed to get involved. Nobody wants to mess with her. If you fuck up and she gets on your ass, it is going to feel like one of those heels in your balls. She will find a way to screw you. And this pissed her off." They also told me that she had four kids and that her husband was a cult professor at the local college who was super popular with and respected by the students and was super soft and polite and a complete opposite of his warrior wife.
The very next day I was coming back to the village from a couple of meetings in the capital and was stunned by the flurry of road building activity that was happening.
The super problematic guy himself was there, managing it all and was all smiles when he saw me and asked me to stop for a quick chat and we shook hands and he was completely different from how he was before.
And the roads are done and they are perfect.