Monday, May 21, 2012
I can't blog from Ethiopia, but am (trying to) keep a journal. Here is what happened last Wednesday: Day 3: It is Wednesday. Today was Abenezer’s visa appointment. The visa appointment was set for 8:00am. We arrived about 20 minutes early, it was wet and a bit rainy. We had Ab’s passport, photos, application and letters from a few churches and camp where Abenezer is planning to share his story. Unlike my last experience at the US embassy in Addis, I was not able to just walk right in. This was Abenezer’s appointment, so we had to wait in line with the other Ethiopians. I was so glad I was going to be able to attend the appointment with him. We waited in the line outside for about 45 minutes. About a hundred of us huddled under the one bit of shelter in front of the embassy. We finally made it in the door, went through security, then went into a giant room that was already filled with around 150 people. There were 12 windows. Abenezer was given a number and we waited. His number was called and we went to the first window, we gave them his passport and visa application, then sat back down...and waited. We thought they had called his number again, went to a window behind another person and saw their application rejected and they were sent home to make another appointment because the passport photos were the wrong size, the same size as Abenezer’s. We approached the window and realized Ab’s number had NOT been called, so we sat back down...and waited. Abenezer’s name was called and we went to another window where his fingerprints were taken. We sat back down and waited...and waited...and waited. While we were waiting I was studying the four Americans that were giving the interviews. I had been specifically praying for whoever would do our interview. I was curious who it was I had been praying for. We were told the interview would last only a couple of minutes, and a decision would be made. We were also told that one of the interviewers was very tough and she rarely granted visas. And we waited. We watched several people who had been behind us in line come and go. Finally, Abenezer’s name was called. When we got to the window I realized this lady had just taken over this window. It had been a man in that spot all morning. We walked to the window together, but she asked me to hand her my paperwork then sit down, she needed to talk to Abenezer alone. I heard her ask him his story, since so many churches were asking to hear it. I did not hear his answer. She asked him a couple other questions, then she invited me up to the window. She asked how I knew him, and I told her the 2 minute version. She then asked if I was a Quaker - that threw me off guard. I told her yes, she said she noticed most of the churches he was visiting were Friends churches. Then she told me she went to a Friends school...and she gave us the visa approval. We found out later that day, this is the woman who rarely granted visas. The fact that the photos were the wrong size was never mentioned. We experienced a true miracle...WOW!!
Thursday, May 3, 2012
What a crazy week. Well, unless an unbelievable miracle happens tomorrow, Megin will not be going on this trip to Ethiopia. The craziness started last Thursday. Megin still, after 4 weeks, had not received her passport. I called to ask about it, they told me we could expedite for $76. We were getting down to the wire, so I agreed. Monday, we got a