Thursday, 4 February 2010
3 things and prayer requests
>I have an announcement: I got three important things accomplished in Africa today. Yes, you heard me. THREE things in ONE day. And all by 1 p.m.! It’s almost unheard of!
But seriously, it is almost unheard of. I usually shoot for one major thing, maybe two, in a single day. It’s just how things work here. You do a lot of waiting.
Our ruling was Thursday, but we still needed the court to finalize the ruling and guardianship order. Once those are done, we can pick up Benjamin’s passport, which was ready and waiting. Those were the last three things I had to drop off at the Embassy, which closed at 12:30 today.
Last night, we got word that the documents were ready, but that we’d need to wait until morning to pick them up.
Someone from my lawyer’s office was waiting at court first thing in the morning, so I went to her office first thing to wait for the person to return. I waited, and waited and waited. At 10:15 another person rushes to help get the paperwork, because the court cashier hadn’t shown up to work yet (as they are known for).
At 10:30, while I am still waiting, the U.S. Embassy calls me, saying that some other families dropped off all their paperwork first thing this morning and my interview would have to be moved from Monday to Wednesday (meaning I wouldn’t be able to fly out before the weekend).
I couldn’t contain my emotions, regardless of the fact that I know Ugandans don’t like to see muzungu women crying. I pleaded with her, asking if I had everything to her by noon if I could still keep the appointment on Monday. She said no, probably not. I couldn’t hide my tears even over the phone. She said she’d call back at 12:30 with a confirmation.
I sobbed in the office while my lawyer’s team became more urgent in calling one another to get things done. I know, I know. It’s two days. I should be so lucky, compared with others who have been stuck here for a very long time. But somehow, the disappointment of expectations unmet undid me.
At 11:15, the court papers were walked into the office. We made copies, I left Benjamin with the other ladies and one of the associates and I hopped on a boda boda to the passport office. We picked that up, and returned to fetch Benjamin. It was 11:45. I ran down to my driver, asking if he could get me to the Embassy in 10 minutes. He thought probably so. We raced toward the first intersection, and sat.
It’s one of the only intersections in Kampala with a traffic light (so it seems to me), but there were traffic police overriding the signal and not letting our lane turn. We sat for an agonizing 6 or 7 minutes. I asked my driver what we should do, and he flagged down a boda boda, telling him to take me to the Embassy. I hopped out in stopped traffic, strapped Benjamin to me, slung my bag over my shoulder and got on the back of the motorcycle. “I have a baby with me, so please be careful, but I need to get to the embassy as soon as possible,” I managed to say with a mouth dry as Ugandan dust. We took off just as the traffic police let the turn lane go. We weaved in and out of the non-lanes of traffic (in the U.S., the road would be wide enough for 2 lanes. Here, they manage to fit four, and the bodas weave through them, which is the major advantage of this mode of transport, but also why it’s more dangerous), inching past huge trucks and bikes and taxis and cars to the Embassy. I closed my dust-specked eyes and breathed a prayer.
I made it into the Consular waiting room at 12:15, breathless. The assistant was in a meeting with someone else, so she would still take my papers.
And she told me she’d try to fit me in on Monday after all.
So, another day of good news that’s followed with exhaustion for having endured it all.
And I have another prayer request. I realized today that some of my documentation doesn’t exactly match, after the judge requested that we change some of it. So now we have some old and new information in the same file, and I’m praying that it’s not an issue with the Embassy. If it is, it could delay me even further — by a week or more.
Thank you for your prayers for this part of the process; I could feel them today! If I could ask you to pray once more for the Embassy appointment on Monday — please pray that everything would be OK and the visa would be issued on Wednesday as I very fervently hope. I want to get home to my other babies!
Thanks for reading my harrowing (ha!) tale, and thank you for caring enough to check in here!