(I wrote this about a month ago)
Okay, so it has been mostly confusing and very frustrating to try and get our paperwork in order. We have heard different things from different people. Frankly, it is a huge discouragement that government offices are so disorganized that getting the proper VISA done can take up to two years, so I have heard, and I’m not the least bit surprised. Deep down, I truly believe that the hold up is because of corruption.
Through all of the trips to the immigration office, plus talking with people here, I have found that although problems tend to surround us all, people do pull through and are helpful when push comes to shove. After another disappointing all-day trip to the immigration office, I was, to say the least, um, distraught. It seemed that anyone I spoke with, either told me something I didn’t want to hear, or didn’t care to try and understand what I was asking about. When Kansale brought us back to the house, I once again attempted to call the immigration headquarters in Blantyre. While on the phone, I was told that the office was closing and I would have to call the following day. That morning when I had awoken, I had my heart set on getting all of this done once and for all. So as I often do when I have been working on something for 6 months, and nothing is seeming to go my way, I lost it and the tears came.
Well a while ago, our friend, and church driver, Kansale, had his house broken into and almost all of the contents had been stolen. Malawians are the happiest most content people I know, but after this horrible thing happened, I will never forget when I asked him how he was doing and he said “I am down” –he was not doing well. He had worked so hard to make a home for himself; a comfortable place to live, and it had been taken away in a short hour’s time. When this happened we offered him help in the form of food, clothing and pots and pans. Well, when I was having my meltdown, he rushed off to get Abusa Zembeni, and brought him to the house. Even though his workday was done, he was ready to be a friend and help. The next thing we knew we had a visit from a neighbor who offered help, and the following day, had visits from a number of people offering to make calls and talk with people to try and accelerate the process. It has been a beautiful thing to see that people take care of one another.