Monday, March 30, 2009

Sucess at Immigration - Yeabo!

Today has turned out to be a very successful day. I drove to Mbabane to have my temporary residence permit transferred from my old passport to my new one. I left Manzini around 9:30. I thought I knew where I was going, but I asked at the information desk just to be sure. Number one mistake. They sent me to room 108 and they sent me to room 117. When I got to room 117, she told me I needed the original copy of my approved permit plus two passport photos. So it was back to Manzini to get the original and pick up the two passport photos I had taken for my passport but were too small. They were the same size as the photos on my original application so I was in luck. Back to Mbabane I go. And into room 117 again. She then sent me to room 101. Room 101 was their filing room for temporary resident permit applications. I'm standing in the doorway looking into the room which is probably about 12' x 14' with folders on all the shelves, in file cabinets and then stacked on top of the filing cabinets almost to the ceiling. There were more stacks outside on both sides of the hallway. I'm thinking, yeah right. They could never find anything in this mess, what's the point? Low and behold in about 15 minutes she brings me my folder (my name was even spelled correctly!) and leads me back to room 117. She then hands me my passport and tells me to go wait down at the end of the hall. I'm guessing room 121 or so. So I stand there for about 15 minutes and then watch the woman in the office leave and lock her door and I'm thinking great. She won't be back until after lunch. But in about 15 minutes she returns. I was the second person waiting. She looked at my passport and the application and then tells me to take it to room 117 so they can stamp it and bring it back. You guessed it, about 15 minutes later the woman finally stamped my passport, I took it back to room 121, the lady signed it and I was on my way. And it was only 1:15! Not bad for the Swazi government. The greatest part is that now I can stay in Swaziland or leave anytime I want. Such freedom!

I find it interesting that the people here are used to waiting in very crowded spaces in long lines. I've never once seen anyone bring a book to read or something to drink or eat. Ms. American here, I came prepared with a book to read to help pass the time. People kept looking at me. I'm not sure if it was because I was reading or because I was the only white person around. Probably both.

On the down side of the day: the teacher at Lomngeletjane wasn't at school again this morning. I had to remember that I am not the school's manager and bite my tongue not to say anything. But it is no wonder those kids don't know how to behave and aren't learning much. She's only in class about half the time. grrrr.

No comments: