A while back I popped in to a blood donation tent in the centre of Bogotá. After being weighed and filling in the form I was told that I could not donate as I had recently been in an area with high risk of contracting malaria. Fair enough.
Yesterday, I’m wandering home and walk past another blood tent. Sticking my head round the door I’m told that they will open in 15 mins and would I mind waiting. So, I did some shopping and went back a while later.
The first step was to take my ID card and note, amongst other things, my nationality. Then I had my finger stabbed to give a sample which I think is used to test for anaemia. Next was answering a whole load of questions to determine if my blood was safe to use.
So, including the time that I effectively waited for them to open, the whole process took say 40 minutes.
And, get this. They don’t want my blood as I’m European and there is a risk that I might carry CJD. OK, fair enough but then the first information they took from me was the fact that I was British. So why carry on wasting my time and their time. In fact, it was clear that I was either gringo, European or antipodean when they first spoke to me. How easy would it have been to ask where I’m from. So bloody typical of how things are done here… Note also that a few months ago, nothing was said about my origin with regards to eligibility to donate…