This week has been *a little* NUTZ! We are back from a short trip to Dar and by short I mean we were on the ground just over 24 hours trying to solve a passport/visa issue that has cropped up. Not a big deal but here anything can turn into a “situation” worthy of many pole sanas so we acted fast so I could have it before I begin teaching English in a couple weeks. I needed pages added to my passport because the officials here granted me my visa to teach but said they did not think there were enough pages to stamp my passport (even though there were 2 pages left and we did not want to pay to add more since it will expire next year anyway). Even after Jason tried to ensure them by showing them there were indeed enough they could not be convinced so off we went to Dar to add the needed pages so we can follow the rules kabisa and get Evy’s last immunization before she turns one year. The miracle of the trip is that I DID NOT puke on the boat. Thanks to copious amounts of Sea Legs (a less than stellar knock off of Dramamine) swallowed on both trips. This was a first folks.. although I was very near being sick on the first ride (especially after Jason reached into his seat to grab a sick bag only to find it full of some one’s else’s vomit). For real, does it get grosser than that?
On our last trip we tried to hit the embassy but after getting the run around, being told the wrong hours of operation, and missing the time by about 4 minutes we planned accordingly and again called ahead. We showed up right when they promised they opened and waited. And waited. More waiting only to discover not a soul was there. They were in some meeting and would not be able to see us before our doctor appointment later so we left. The only highlight was getting to see if the rumors were true about the embassy (we have heard tales of alleged Starbucks coffee, American outlets, and even food for sale). Unfortunately the only highlight was American outlets, some nice furniture, and even a changing station in the bathroom (first one I have ever seen here). Besides the furniture all the inefficiency has been transported here and magnified. All the coffee and food rumors are lies I tell you!! You heard it here first; No food just government workers who may or may not be there to help you.
We returned to the embassy after Evy’s appointment and a quick check for Miss Anni to make sure she is over her worm ordeal. It was most indubitable that I would be waiting all day so Jason stayed in the car and tried to coax Evy to take a much needed nap and convince Anni to rest by promising bribes of fruits snacks if she complied. Luckily we just missed a huge group of people and I only waited about 20 minutes! I was promised my passport would be ready the next morning and headed out.
With all that extra time in the afternoon we decided to check in with the social worker in Dar that is handling our adoption. It is always hard to know how to balance the not wanting to irritate her (since she can make our lives really difficult) but also showing up enough to convince her to get our case moving. With no nap for Evy (unless you count 10 minutes in a stifling hot car) we prayed it would go well. Anni was her charming self and earned us many points by singing in Kiswahili and greeting everyone. And after a bit of encouragement our social worker looked up all our info and we were overjoyed to learn that our case has now been sent to the International Social Services where the organization in the US will contact all our over seas references(get ready y’all). Every step we are getting closer….Yeah! Mtoto number 3….we cannot wait to meet you! It is amazing to know there is a child out there that will become part of our family!!
The next morning Anni and I headed out in a Tuk-Tuk (a small taxi/glorified motorcycle with a bench in the back). Anni always sees them zipping around in Dar and every time we are there begs to go in one (she forgot the only other time she was in one in Kenya way back when) so I decided we would make the trip to the embassy a bit of a Mama-Big Girl adventure and left Evy back at the guest house to take a much needed nap with Jason. In the crazy traffic taking a Tuk-Tuk was a wise choice since we got there way faster than if we had driven. After arriving at the embassy and going through security (a bit epic after the bombing– understandably) we walked to the waiting room and saw about 40 people standing and sitting everywhere. I prepared myself for what might be an all day deal to retrieve my passport. But in an amazing and unpredictable and never before seen bureaucratic miracle the security guard; who was an older gentlemen who had tried to help us the day before, saw us enter and escorted us promptly to the front of the line and allowed us to enter the small waiting room reserved only for the chosen few who might actually get something accomplished. It was awesome and I completely credit God and Anni for being so sweet and respectfully greeting him the day before (who can resist a Mzungu kid with awesome Kiswahili, really?). Within 10 minutes (and almost 100 bucks lighter-geesh!) we had my passport and were on our way. We Tuk-Tuk-ed it back after hitting one grocery store to stock up on cereal and broccoli and made it back just in time to load the car and hightail it over to the port to make the noon ferry back to our island.
I managed to only take about 4 pictures which for me really means we were non stop. But here are 2 of our trip…
Evy enjoys the sea air on the boat (much more than her Mama I might add)
Anni and I on our Tuk-Tuk ride