|Project||World with FotoIN|
|Location||Nairobi, Kenya (8.9916098, 38.7483804)|
|Date||03/31/2014, 8:03:59 am|
I reconnected with my Nomad group to reach Nairobi and then we said our goodbyes. My only mission in Nairobi was to arrange a visa for Ethiopia. Ethiopians are as non-cooperative as possible.
When I got to the Ethiopian Embassy, the chief of consular affairs received me in her office. Her whole neck and chest were covered in tattoos and, to top it all, she had tattooed a big cross on her forehead as well. I asked myself how it's possible that this was acceptable in the Ethiopian diplomatic service. I gave her my documents, including the two diplomatic letters by the Croatian Embassy verifying my story. - "You don't have a resident visa for Kenya", she said. - "No, I don't. That's why my embassy called you three weeks ago and sent you the diplomatic letter. I have a copy of the letter here. You said that sending a diplomatic letter and confirming everything in a phone call between the two embassies would suffice. Croatia doesn't have an embassy in Kenya, that's why we had to communicate through Pretoria, South Africa." -"Yes… But we can't give you the visa. Only for residents, we have strict instructions." she murmured, eyes half closed. - "You gave instructions on this three weeks ago. That's why I came here. You know that otherwise I have to go to Rome to get that visa. That would border insanity." - "Yes, I understand. But I can't help you. Only for residents." - "Madame, the residents rule is there for verification reasons only, because it's difficult to check the statements of the applicant. I have a government verifying my statements and they are at your disposal for any questions you might have. You already talked to them and received a diplomatic letter, they acted per your instructions. This makes it the easiest visa application imaginable. A phone call to anyone in the Ethiopian Foreign Office would give you a green light for this. Could you at least make a phone call?" - "No, I can give you a phone number and you can call." - "I can call the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia and ask them if you can make an exemption?", I asked, visibly annoyed. I just couldn't hide it. A combination of stupidity, incompetence and malice shoots me through the roof. Still, she had all the cards in her hands and I had to swallow the pile of rubbish she served me. I left the Embassy and three days later finally got in contact with their Ambassador who gave me another set of complicated instructions on how to eventually get the visa. I called friends in two Croatian embassies and they gave me their full assistance. Still, it wasn't going anywhere. Government employees are not known as very dedicated and expedient workers, and Ethiopian diplomats obviously brought that up to the level of art. Calling an embassy the whole day with not a single person answering the phone is a normal state of affairs and leaving work after lunch is considered as one of the perks of employment. There was nothing left for me to do but wait in Nairobi and hope it would be resolved soon. Normally I would just discard the country and go elsewhere, but for the first time in my whole trip I wasn't in full control for my time, because two friends would be waiting for me in Ethiopia. So I stayed and waited.