Monday, July 14, 2014

a wild goose chase

Time flies when you're having fun...Right...well I don't usually try to vent or speak negatively about things on here, and I will continue to try not to do that, but if I am perhaps a little too heavy on the sarcasm of this post or it comes across negative a bit forgive me, just a little frustrated. Since I last posted we have been on what I think can only best be described as a wild goose chase.  Some time in the first week of June we found out that the American Embassy in Nairobi had finally scheduled Ruudy for an immigrant visa interview. I say finally only because we had started the process of applying for said visa about a year ago. All of the sudden we were expected to be ready for the interview in Nairobi by the 1st of July, that gave us about 3 weeks.  And the bonus, Ruudy had to schedule two health appointments in Nairobi at the only authorized place, allegedly two weeks before the interview.  That gave us only one week to prepare to go for the health appointments and interview. We emailed and called the health clinic and after a couple days found out the only available time slots left were on the 27th and 31st june. So much for two weeks prior to the interview. But there was no other option so we decided to go with it. This is already long so I will spare you the details of the 4hr drive to the border and the 10hr bus ride from the border to nairobi and the amazing driving skills that apparently most Kenyans have. Ruudy successfully made it to the two health appointments and he passed! woohoo! And he didn't even need two weeks for results or anything, the embassy had everything they needed in one day. Praise the Lord. We went for the interview, a little nervous, and if we somehow failed this attempt, WHEN WOULD WE EVER MAKE IT TO THE STATES!?! People want to meet this beloved of mine already. Anyway, we didn't fail, but we didn't really pass either. We had his birth certificate and our wedding certificate (both the church one and the one from the local gov't) but it wasn't quite good enough. They needed to see both of those things from the Central gov't not just the local gov't, so, we packed up our things went back to our friends place just out side of nairobi and started making phone calls. Ruudy has some friends who know how to handle such things. So, they started working on getting the certified central gov't copies of things. After a couple days we realized that we would have to go and chase these things ourselves, and it wasn't going to be as easy as one might think. We headed back to Uganda on Sunday the 6th. We had been in Nairobi about 10 days, but very little to show for it. We immediately proceeded to get remarried as a civil marriage because we were told that the church that we married at wasn't registered with the marriage registry and so there was no way they could certify it. At least my sister-in-law lives at that border where we crossed and was so helpful to us. If you don't know uganda you may not understand the kind of waiting game we first played with the guy who was supposed to remarry us, but finally by like 5pm monday we were officially re-married. Only they had put the wrong ages. We took the thing back to the guy to fix, but they just crossed out and put the correct age and initialed it. We then headed about 2 hours closer to kampala, to our new place in Jinja. We slept there and ruudy continued on to kampala and I stayed behind to help with the classes for pastors that week. Tuesday, ruudy arrives and after much waiting and talking they inform him that they cannot certify it because of the age correction, he calls his sister at the border and she talks to the guy and explains the situation and after much talking and begging, he agrees to make a new one and sign it the next morning. Wednesday, his sister waits for the guy and eventually she boards a taxi with the new certificate and meets us in Jinja. We sign it and I drop Ruudy back off at the taxi stage and again he heads to kampala trying to make it before 5pm. Upon reaching this time he is told that the certificate is in the wrong form. So ruudy gets on a taxi van and heads the 4+ hours back to the border where we did the civil marriage. Thursday, after much hassle the guy finally makes a new certificate for us, ruudy takes a 2hr taxi ride back to jinja, where he meets me for 5 minutes, I sign the new thing and he continues on to kampala another 2hrs, but it's too late to do anything, so he waits till Friday. Friday, he tries to get the now 3rd copy of our civil marriage certified, but they say now that they need a letter from the states saying that I was really single when I got married. But of course I was not because I was already married in the church wedding, so there's no way I'll get a letter from the states saying that I was single. what? I called the people at the embassy in kampala and they said that the church certificate should work to get certified, so ruudy calls the pastor in Mbale, which is about 5 hours from kampala. The pastor says that the church is registered with the registry of marriages and he would provide the proof and write a letter on our behalf explaining why they haven't registered our marriage yet, and that they should allow ruudy to register it on their behalf. I'm tired just writing this. Ok, so ruudy gets on a bus and travels the 5 hours to mbale friday afternoon, gets the paperwork from the church and heads back the 2+hours to jinja on a taxi. Our class on teaching bible story telling for evangelism and discipleship is now over and ruudy arrives back in Jinja having to miss all of the classes. Saturday and Sunday, recovery days. Monday, Ruudy goes back to kampala, and attempts to file the paperwork that he was given by the pastor, so our marriage can be registered and then we can get the certificate certified, as redundant at that sounds. Well guess what? The church is supposed to be registering new marriages monthly, and the last one that they happened to register was in 2012. And the registry is refusing to register ours alone, but the church has to register all the marriages that have happened between now and then in order for ours to be registered.  The church charges everyone a filing fee, and the gov't requires 35,000 (around $14) per wedding registered. So you would think when we call up the church and tell them to come and register all of the weddings from the last two years, they would have saved up all of the money that they collected over the years and been able to file, but no, they don't have a single shilling to even help transport the pastor to file the thing.  Don't ask me what happened to all the money people paid over the last two years to get married, but there are 18 marriages that went down, and not a shilling to show for it, and SO...if we want to get our certificate certified we'll have to pay 630,000 shillings (about$252) to pay for the church to file all the marriages, but at least the church has said that they will try to borrow half of the money. ?!?! Tuesday, hopefully the church people come to kampala with their half of the money and all of the marriages get filed before the end of the day, so that by wednesday we can have our certified certificate and then we can mail ruudy's passport with the certified birth certificate and this elusive marriage certificate and we can prove to the embassy in nairobi, that yes ruudy was born, and yes we were married in Uganda. And then a week after it arrives at the embassy, hopefully ruudy will be headed back to Nairobi to pick up his passport with the immigrant visa in it...and then we might start thinking about when we can go to the states... so that's the long of the short of it... if you made it this far, you're really a trooper. well done. please pray for us, as it's a very frustrating process that has swallowed up a good chunk of change and perhaps some sanity as well.