Wednesday at the Cameroon Embassy was a cross between living a Saturday Night Live skit (funny) and being pushed emotionally over the edge (sad). When we were at our final training in North Carolina, we “acted” out an embassy bureaucratic scenario.
The embassy is open for 3 ½ hours each morning to receive applications for passports, visas, civil matters, etc… The embassy reopens for 1 ½ hours in the afternoon to pick-up the above or to inquire about the above. We arrived at the embassy and saw hundreds of people standing in a big group. A woman with a baby was sitting on a planter and she asked us what we wanted to do, we told her and she told us which crowd of people was waiting for visas, we also saw the Visa forms that we filled out in their hands so it looked like a great choice. We joined the crowd and didn’t move for at least an hour, then after 2 ½ hours of waiting with 2 anxious boys in tow, we had our turn to approach the plexi-glass window. David shared our neatly organized paperwork with the man and he instructed us to go downstairs to another window. We went downstairs and waited 45 minutes to see the man at the window. David handed the man our organized paperwork and then he asked us for our proof of employment in France. This wasn’t something on the form and it isn’t something we have. So David explained we are full time students and provided him with the proof of our student status. We have residency cards for France, so we were very confused about this. Then the man asked for additional money, more than what was in print on the form. We pointed out the amount on the form was a different amount and he said that he needed to charge us more for express. We said we didn’t need express and he insisted that we must pay the additional charges. We didn’t have the money, so David stayed there with the boys and DeAnna went to find an ATM. She found one and returned with 2 minutes to spare before closing time. We paid the additional money and were told to come back at 3pm on Friday.
David went back on Friday a few minutes before 3 and pulled out the small piece of paper that had a little yellow circle sticker and our names written on it. The security guard saw it and told him to come back at 4. He left and walked around for 20 minutes and returned hoping to see the man that told him to come back at 3. He was there so David went up and handed him the piece of paper that had our names on it and he handed David the 4 passports and the paperwork for DeAnna and the boys and told me to go upstairs, David gave him a confused look but walked up the stairs.
There were only 2 other people standing in the area where Wednesday there were 100’s of people. All the windows were closed and David looked at our passports and saw that his was completed but the other 3 were not. So the man that told David to go upstairs came upstairs about 10 minutes later took the passports from David and went behind the windows and threw the passports on the desk and walked away. Several minutes later another man showed up and after several minutes of questions he filled out his part of the visa and sent David to another person who had another stamp that needed to be added to the visa. After David returned to the first window to receive another stamp, we finally had all the paperwork necessary for travel to Cameroon!!!!
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28