Nothing much clever or thoughtful to post… I’m finishing packing and getting ready for a long journey back to the US. I fly by way of Doha, which may be interesting. At least its inexpensive (and long – more than 32 hours in transit with flights, layovers, and such).
How long will I be in the US? I don’t really have any way to know.
The South African government has still not issued me a visa. Of course, they don’t have to ever issue a visa. But it is a complicated story that I think reflects the state of government in South Africa. Simply put, many parts of the government don’t function. Phones don’t get answered. Email does not get responded to. Aid for education grants don’t get paid. Taxes don’t get collected. So my guess is that my visa application is sitting on somebody’s desk in Pretoria in a pile of stuff that the occupier of the desk will get to when possible.
To be clear, most South African’s that I have dealt with are competent and professional. But that does not make a government work. The new president has made it a priority to get basic government function back on line. But obviously he is starting with economic development so that there may be some jobs created. Visas for charitable volunteers are a low priority in the agenda – and to be honest, if it were me in that position that would still be true.
So I’ll be in the US while I await some answer from the South African Consulate in NY. My initial application was declined because, I gather from the information given me, someone there misread one of the supporting documents. And the appeal was filed (three times… because that is what it took for the office to acknowledge that they had received it once).
It is easy for me to feel a bit of outrage… but if I keep in mind what folks trying to get visas into the US go through, especially if they don’t happen to be white, I realize this is just frustrating. But nothing more than that.
I’ll post something when I’m in the US and I hope to continue to post.
In the mean time, any thoughts and prayers focused on the South African Home Affairs office in Pretoria would be great.
But if you want to worry about something, refugees fleeing for their lives and hitting red tape snags at our boarders are in far greater need of grace and justice.