Posts Tagged ‘Immigration’

Mission: Denied.

Last week Ian got to leave mid day for a meeting in Nairobi and then hopefully to pick up Megan from the airport.

Since her plane was delayed, so was  he, and he just hadto spend the night in Nairobi at the home of friends.   He called me that night to check in on me and the kids.  He was calling from the middle of a movie where he was on a “Man Date”.   Cruel.  Simply.  Not only was he alone without the rugrats in the metropolis of Nairobi, but, he had free time and was watching big screen entertainment!   I wished him well and knew that some day my turn would come.

My turn came yesterday.  We got word that it was time to visit the Nyayo House to complete paperwork for Megan’s alien card.  Sweet!   We tacked on some errands for the Centre that needed to be completed in Nairobi and were off!

Nyayo House is not an exciting place to visit in itself. Thanks to expathousewifeinNairobi you can see that it  looks like this on the outside:

and the inside is dark, and gloomy and filled with the smell of way to many bodies in desperate need of a shower.  There are long lines (longer yet if you don’t bring an extra copy of your passport and you have to go hunting around town for a copy machine),  lots of sitting here and there, and the final signal to the end of the process:  undergoing fingerprinting like you are being booked in the county jail.

Anyhow, along with the work errands that needed to be run, Megan and I decided to pop into a beauty salon I’d been tipped off to in the first week of my arrival to see if they might happen to be able to squeeze us in.

They were.

And it was pure heaven.  I haven’t enjoyed a pedicure in a while, and this one was especially sweet and necessary.  This Kenyan dust and dirt is doing some serious damage to  my poor feet….which my pedicurist reiterated time and time again throughout her multiple bouts of rubbing an enormously large pumice stone over my foot.  She went on to prescribe that I no longer wear flip flops and switch to tennis shoes or closed shoes.  I’ll opt for the closed shoes.   Shoes are pretty cheap and cute here any how, and if I’m being told that I am doing permanent damage to my feet by not having proper shoes, well then the only responsible thing for me to do is to do some serious shoe shopping.

For the health of my feet of course.

Anyhow, this story ends with us waking early, driving into downtown Nairobi, chatting with our immigration liaison and deciding to meet at the amazing Java House for coffee.

It’s not this one, but this is what they generally look like outside.  A bit like Starbucks actually but with red umbrellas and logos.  http://www.nairobijavahouse.com/

I had a cafe latte, Megan had a green tea.  And then we waited patiently for our  immigration expert to arrive.

We waited a long time, and had 2 unanswered phone calls.  We were about ready to give up when I received an odd call saying the woman who we had just talked to, and who was on her way to meet us, had taken very ill, could not walk, and was being taken to the hospital.

Guess that means we won’t be doing immigration today?

I called Ian to tell him and his response was, “That’s Kenya.”

We’ll give it a go another day.  In the meantime, Megan better behave, cause she’s not really a legal alien yet.

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Things that are not “child-safe”

Today Ian and I needed to be ready to leave our temporary apartment at 7:15am to head to immigration to finish the application process for our work permits.  This is the process that was begun at the end of October 2008.  There was no worry about being late, as again, not only were Ian, Eli and I all wide awake at midnight, but we were by 5am as well.

I will digress here for a moment.  It’s funny what can get said by small children at 5am.  Eli announced as he held an American dollar VERY close to our faces:  “Look, Obama is on my dollar!  And also a statue and the golden pyramid (thank you Little Einsteins).  He has really taken to having an affinity for mentioning Obama.  That will go over well here in Kenya.

Anyhow, we were off early to Immigration.  The process involved sitting in traffic (cause when cars make their own random lanes in traffic, that slows things down), waiting for our Immigration expert, stopping by Java House for coffee (rivals Starbucks btw), and then walking to Immigration.  We sat in 3 separate  offices, filled out more papers, were fingerprinted, and ended up with a little piece of paper that is our permit.  I was a little disappointed that the permit wasn’t more official looking.  I guess we’ll get our “alien” cards in a few weeks, and those look a bit more “official”.

Anyhow, on our walk to and from the Immigration house Ian was stealth and snapped some pictures of things that were not child friendly:

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And speaking of pictures, you have to be really careful of that here.  On 2 occasions now we wanted to snap a picture and were advised not to.  Even in Java Hut.  We ran into a girl from Boston at Immigration who snapped a picture of a military exercise in western Kenya and was subsequently jailed for 14 hours.  Something in my “follow the rules” nature just tells me that you probably shouldn’t be casually snapping pictures of men in uniform carrying guns.

Guns.  Which there are a lot of here on security guards and the like.  Multiple occurances per block.  And don’t even think of walking by a bank security truck as they are stopping by the road for a pickup/drop-off.  Big no-no.  You walk WAY around….the truck and the man with the gun.  I’m no gun expert, but it looks like some type of machine gun or AK-47.  I’ll have to check into that.  Either way, it is big and does an appropriate job of scaring me off!  I am told though that only the people who need to have guns, have guns.

Tomorrow we leave Nairobi for Thika.  I’m excited to get to our new home and meet our neighbors who have been living on the property alone for quite some time.  They sound just as excited to have some company as well.

Kwa heri (good-bye) for now!

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Pic giving you an idea of downtown Nairobi

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Eli yesterday with some boys who played ball with him