Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Tuesday Meetings at immmigration - Long
Tuesday May 26,2009
I know I haven’t written in a few days and it is because of multiple things. Lack of energy from sickness and lack of energy from kids, lack of energy from the heat and humidity and lack of internet connection when I feel like writing. Mental notes have been piling up in my head like files that pile up on a doctor’s desk, (Hehehe! ) so I must clear them out so I can sleep properly. ( I actually have been writing this for 4 days.)
I really want to write about the day we pursued Isaiah’s passport.
The day was incredible in all that we accomplished with God’s help but it was just as miserable.
It all started with me getting sick Monday evening. Diarrhea set in and let me say that I wish this on no one. Remember how I was so tired all day Monday and I thought it was jet lag catching up to me but it was more than that. I was about to have a day that can only be said as pure misery. Now Tuesday’s were just as important as Monday’s meetings if not more. We were going to meet a very high official in Ugandan Immigration and at this point in our process I will keep his name and info undisclosed. I’ll call him Mr. C.
I woke up to find myself heavily congested, bad stomach, severe headache and aching all over. I knew I did not have malaria because I had not been in the country long enough.
My right hip felt out of socket and I knew it was because of having carried Isaiah around all day Monday. I have a rare arthritis in my pelvis and hips and if I lift too much weight or walk too much, I get this terrible pain in my hip and back. I had done both. Every step I took was excruciatingly painful. Not only that, but every muscle and joint in my entire body was hurting to the point of tears. Even my fingers. Now I had had Fibromyalgia for 14 years but have not had a flare up in almost 2 years and have not been on any medication. I knew God had healed me of it. This pain today felt like the worse Fibro flare up I have ever had. Every movement hurt. Somehow I managed to get up and get Isaiah and myself ready, the whole time quoting scripture and praying. I was not going to let the enemy try to keep me from this important meeting. I felt in my spirit that God was about to break some doors wide open. I knew what was happening and if I had chosen to stay in bed, all would have been lost. I downed Advil, decongestant and Immodium after which Isaiah and I waddled over to the main house to get him breakfast. One look at me and Brenda knew I was not good and I asked her to pray over me which she did. I tried to eat some toast but could only take a few bites but Isaiah ate plenty.
By this time Allenni and Andrew had arrived and gotten breakfast and we loaded into the van to head to town. So keeping in mind that I am sickly in more ways than one, will help you understand what I mean by a miserable day.
We were supposed to pick John up at the fuel station on Entebbe Road. Now to get to Entebbe Road, you have to go down the hill in Seguku. It is ALL potholes and trenches. Four wheel drive is a must. Not too comfortable for a person with back and hip problems.
We got down the mini-mountain and waited on John. He arrived within several minutes and he told me that he had forgotten an important document and we had to go BACK UP to Seguku. So back up the mini mountain we rode or should I say, bounced. We did not find Pastor K. so we went down to the church. Evidently, John found him because he was gone for some time. All I could pretty much do was lay back in the seat and grit my teeth and pray to God for the medicine to kick in and for His help through out this day. John finally returned with the sought after document and we once again were on our way.
This day it only took us about 30 minutes to go the 7 miles. We arrived at Immigration and found a parking spot. John had to organize the children’s files and I was thinking it was only going to take a few minutes. It didn’t and almost two hours later he had them the way he wanted them. The kids were a little stir crazy, I was still feeling pretty bad and we were all glad to get out of the van. We led the children to the big court yard and John had us to sit on the wooden benches while he went and found out where this official’s office was. Now the official knew we were coming and John carried a letter from TL. on our behalf.
About 10 minutes later John came and fetched us and were ushered into this man’s office.
He was a jovial man and got right into the matter. He asked John some questions as he was appearing as my advocate and John answered them well.
He then asked John, “Are you a lawyer?” “No, sir, I am not.” “Then good, I want your honest opinion, not a lawyer’s .” “Do you think these kids legally qualify for a passport?” John responded with a legal answer and Mr. C, cut him off, “No, I don’t want a legal answer. I want a honest answer from a man who cares about these kids getting a new start in life.” John wasn’t sure he understood the question, but he gave what I thought was a good answer. I wanted to break in there and give my opinion but nobody even asked me! So, I kept silent.
Mr. C must have liked John’s answer because he gave a short speech starting out with the question, “Did you pray about this before you came in here?” “Why yes”, I politely said with my Ugandan manners, even though I wanted to shout, “Did we pray???? Did We Pray???? Why we have been praying for 18 months now!!! Half the world is praying with us! Heaven is praying! YES WE PRAYED!”
“Well”, then he replied, “It will be done.” I believe that these children deserve an opportunity, a second chance in life. Let me call some one in here.” He called a man in, and MN. pulled up a chair. After introductions, the matter was passed onto him. (This man was in charge of processing passports, I found out later.) Mr. C passed over Allenni and Andrew’s birth certificates to MN and as he looked at them, they talked it seemed in some Ugandan code that everyone but me seemed to understand even though it was English! I only made out, “ We will take this matter to the board and get them to pass it and it may take two weeks.” Then Mr. C says something to the effect, “MN get these going and I will write a letter to the board and you know that whatever I recommend, they will do.” He looked at us and said, “I wish for these children to have a life and new start. It will all work out. Go with this man and he will help you. “John asked him to write a note and he did. As we walked out the door, the man happily said, “Keep praying, God will work. These children will have a new opportunity at life. Do you believe it? I believe it.”
We then followed MN and he told us to go ahead and file the passports, taking the letter with us. The kids went back to the van and John and I inquired about putting in the files. John spoke to a man, he read the letter, gave us 3 pink cards and told us what to do and to come back when it was done. Again, this took some time. We returned to the car with John telling me that he had to put the application files properly in the folders and needed a two hole punch. So we went to the store to get a two hole punch. This does not mean running down the street. This takes time and effort here in Uganda. I gave John money because the effort to get up and go inside the store was too much for me. He returned with not only a hole punch but a stapler as well. To be honest I was a little miffed but I got over it. He then reorganized the files as we sat in the car.- again. We headed back to immigration only to find that they had just taken a lunch break and we could come back at two. Many thoughts ran through my mind that I won’t share here. Let’s just say that God had to walk me through them to clear them out.
John told me that we couldn’t pay cash for the passports but had to go to the bank to pay and then get a receipt. “Well, ok, let’s go do that while they are at lunch,” I replied. “We can’t “ he said, “ They have to give you a payment slip and then you take it to the bank, and they don’t open back up til two.” Ugh!!! Was my response. (inwardly that is)
By now, A storm had blown in as it is the rainy season and rain was falling from the sky as if the clouds had pour spouts in them instead of raindrops. If you have never experienced an African downpour it is amazing!
So that left us standing under the awning with about 20 other people waiting for the rain to blow through and let up. By this time, I was barely able to stand and I know God must have had his angels there supporting me. The pain writhing through my body was incredible. My legs just didn’t want to stand another minute. I finally found a wall to lean on and it helped but misery was my acting as my friend. On top of all of this, my body told me it was time to visit the toilet! Ugh! “God help!!” I was praying, “Let the rain slow down or stop so I can go tot he bathroom.” Much to my disappointment it only came down harder. I chuckled to myself upon seeing this, because at this point it had to be funny, or I might give up. By this time, the courtyard was severely muddy and miniature rivers were weaving back and forth like water snakes to drain in a makeshift gully on the other side of the courtyard. Finally I couldn’t stand it any more. The running water falling from the sky was more than I could take. I told John that I was going to the bathroom and would be back. “But it is raining. You Muzugu’s don’t care about the rain like we Ugandans do.” “I care alright, just not right now. “
I had already mapped my way through the courtyard, and picked out the patches of grass and elevated gravel where I could step and not drown. So with the feeling that over a hundred pairs of eyes were watching, (there were at least 25 more people under the tent in the middle of the courtyard) this Muzugu headed towards her goal -- The bathroom on the other side of the courtyard!
There was no being discreet about where I was going. It was quite obvious. I
GOT Drenched!!! I might as well have jumped into a swimming pool.
Upon arrival to the bathroom, a man was standing in there to get out of the rain. He moved. I then realized that this must be a man’s bathroom. The urinals gave it away. Oh well, too late to care! I walked on in, prayed a man wouldn’t walk in on me and found a stall. What greeted me was a nasty squatty potty! Oh well! Gotta go with what you got!
I finished, walked out, the rain had not let up, and ran back to where John was, dripping like an unrung washcloth.
We waited for sometime more and finally the rain let up enough for us to run to the van. We arrived to find Maggie and the kids ok but rain coming in through the skylight window above. Allenni immediately announced she had to go to the potty. But then it started to rain in torrents again and I told her she would have to wait. Waiting was not for long, so out we ran, thinking Andrew was right behind. He wasn’t. So upon arrival back to the van, Andrew wanted me to take him and I said, “Absolutely not! You should have come when I told you too!” I was tired of being wet.
At some point of me taking Allenni to the restroom, John had gone in and gotten the receipts we need to take to the bank. We headed to the only bank the passport office worked with which was across town and our driver dropped us off thinking we would be finished within a few minutes. Not!
They had one window where you pay your money for the cashier’s checks. We did. Then they told us to walk across the room to pick up the checks at another window. John got in line and after waiting was told, “oh, you have to wait one hour and then we will have your checks.” Ugh!! This was going to push us to get back to Immigration to get the passport files submitted.
So, we waited. For one hour, me in my soaked cloths and John in his nice suit. John left me for a few minutes to go and buy some whiteout, because e he wanted to fix some things on the applications. After marking out a couple of things, I finally told him, “Don’t add or delete anything else. They have already stamped it and nothing should be changed afterwards.” The man sitting next to us, being helpful, told John that we didn’t have the applications filled out right. “Ok. Thanks.”
Finally the hour passed and my hair dried out and frizzed some making me look like I had a cotton ball for a wig. But we’re in Africa, Who really cares?
We headed back to the van and made our way towards immigration with it nearing 5pm
Once again we all piled out uncertain if the kids were needed and again Maggie and I sat on the benches in the courtyard while John went to file the applications.
We did it! The application got filed.
But our day did not end there.
John attends law school at night and as he was late for class, we went ahead and took him to school. After that we headed back home, very exhausted, hungry, needing medication, wanting a hot shower and glad this day was over. Mission accomplished despite it all. God was faithful and good. So much accomplished in two days in Uganda? I call that God breaking open doors!