I was reminded of Ms. Brooks and her missing patience yesterday as I was sitting in the Immigration Office. American citizens are welcome to visit Botswana and can even enter the country visa-free. However, you can’t be here more than 90 days within a calendar year. As such I must become a Botswana resident. In order to do so I had to have a medical exam, provide university transcripts, complete a residence permit application and pay the 1500 pula fee (about $200). Once those requirements are fulfilled you are taken to the Immigration Office.I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect when I arrived at the Immigration Office, but I came prepared… with a book. I’ve learned to never leave home without a book to read. I actually have a list of things I never leave home without, but perhaps I will share those details another day. But the book is an absolute necessity because you never have any idea how long you will be stuck somewhere. And stuck I was.
I expected the trip to Immigration might include an interview, or additional paperwork. I wore my sneakers in case I was expected to complete an obstacle course, or maybe start a fire with twigs and elephant dung (By the way, I’m not making this up, they do that here. See the latest season of the Amazing Race, Leg 7 where teams visit Maun, Botswana and had to fulfill that challenge to progress.)In the end the only thing they wanted was fingerprints. And apparently they didn’t want all of my fingerprints. I kept trying to give them more prints but they were only concerned with my thumbs and pointer fingers. I will have to remember that in case I decide to commit a crime. “Well, we took fingerprints, but it appears the thief only used her pinkie fingers, so I guess we will never find the criminal.”
Wait a second; you know what those four fingerprints remind me of? That’s right! Guns Up Red Raider Fans! Since I can’t be at any Texas Tech football games this season I will be there in spirit:In the end I was at Immigration for six hours. I don’t know why it took that long, but I honestly couldn’t figure out the system they were using for seeing customers. I do know that there were a lot of people who were there when I arrived and still waiting when I left, so it’s not likely anyone line jumped me.
Now I just have to sit back and wait for my residence permit to be processed. Fortunately I become a more patient person every day. Since my entry stamp expires on October 23rd I assume I will receive a phone call informing me the residence permit is ready at about 4pm on October 22nd.