I've done some processing (not as much as I might usually because my parents are here and I don't have as much alone time but still a bit of processing) about this whole visa thing. Last week I expired again. I've only been back in the country 3 months and shouldn't have had to leave Uganda again for 3 more months. But I had renewed once already on this particular stamp. Anyway, all these details aside, I was expired and had to do something about it. The 'rents and I took a day and drove the really rough road to Mbale (takes 3 hours but is only about 70 miles - that is a BAD road) and headed into the immigration office only to be told that the officer who could approve wasn't around. I asked the first guy why I couldn’t just pay, and he couldn't just stamp me but he just told us to come back the next day and discuss with the other official. We arrived back in Soroti after 4pm hot, dusty, tired, sore from being tossed around on the road for 6 hours and frustrated to no end having accomplished nothing except burning a lot of fuel and wasting an entire day. I’ve come to terms with life here in Uganda being trying and annoying some days. But some days the frustration falls more in the range of infuriating and maddening.
I thank the Lord that this time I wasn’t doing it alone. It was really nice to have mom and dad with me both for the drive and their physical presence in the bureau. (I think it is more difficult to ask a lady for “favors” when her father is right there.) I thank the Lord also that I didn’t receive and outright NO or a ridiculously limited amount of time again. I appreciate that I wasn’t asked for a bribe at all. But it is the constantly not knowing what to expect. We planned to go back the next day but still didn’t know what to expect. We could do the whole drive again without results. It just saps my energy and honestly makes me wonder a bit why I do this. But I really do know why I do it and the next day we got the needed 3 additional months and even had a few hours in Mbale pool before beginning the trek back to Soroti.
Through all of this I’m still trying to get my work permit submitted. Once I have a work permit I’ll be in the country legitimately for 3 years. But I’ve been trying to get this thing submitted for months. Finally, after lots of attempts Monday was going to be the day. Then Tuesday. Then I was told Friday. Now we are praying for next week. Please pray with me. This whole unknown, constantly wondering, trying to do it right but being jerked around is really hard. I’m good until January but would like to stay in Uganda until my brother’s wedding in April. Thanks everyone for your support!!