• Posted by Ben on 21 Nov 2009

We had a few hiccups getting the birth certificate and passport, but its all done now! The only step we have left is to get the visitor’s visa for her and then we can fly home!

First, the thorn in our side named Philip was in Ethiopia this week, so our lawyer (Were) was able to “convince” the registrar to let us have Eden’s birth certificate. We took this to the Eldoret passport office but they said that everyone mustmust have two names (her cert only said “Eden”). So we went back to the registrar the next day and had him change it to “Baby Eden”! (all the paperwork so far has said Baby Eden for whatever reason). The Eldoret passport office was happy now and authorized/filled out the rest of the passport papers. However, Kenya is so advanced that they are now printing the pictures right onto the passports and digitizing them for some sort of archiving purposes. This means that there are only 3 places in Kenya that do this: Nairobi, Mombasa, and Kisumu.

Kisumu is about the same size as Eldoret and is a 3 hour ($80) cab ride away. I would have borrowed Sam’s car and driven us there, but not having an international driver’s license made me nervous going longer distances. The chances of hitting a police roadblock out of town is about 1000 times higher than just around Eldoret where I have been driving.

I made one Hail Mary call to the director of the AMPATH drivers to see if anyone was going down near Kisumu on Thursday. Luckily, there was a doctor going there for his weekly visit to an AMPATH clinic thats only 20 mins outside of Kisumu! The benefit (and terrible thing) about going with them was that they were leaving at 5:30 AM! We were lucky because this meant Eden slept for 95% of the trip and that we got there even before they opened. We weren’t lucky because, well, its 5:30 in the morning!!

Eden-with-kenyan-passport-1

We sat in the lobby for 45 minutes before they let anyone in. We were the first ones in line and apparently had the magic word: “Mbakaya”. Our Eldoret passport office friend had just txted us to ask for her and she would make our lives easier. Sure enough, she was extremely helpful! She did what seemed like only a cursory look over the papers once she knew that Timothy in Eldoret had done them. She then said, “ok, everything is in order, come back at 3 to pick it up.” That was it, no staying overnight, no begging for faster processing, nothing!

So we toured Kisumu a little bit: rode to the Nakumat Mega (aka Walmart + mall) in a tuktuk, went to the Sunset Hotel to relax for a bit, had lunch with an OpenMRS implementer that I know, then went back to the passport office right at 3 o’clock. Unfortunately it wasn’t ready yet, so we had to wait around for another hour and a half. Unfortunately this squashed the time that we were going to use to go to see the lakeside and the impala park, but we were so happy to have the passport that we didn’t really care!

We are now trying to contact the US embassy to get an expedited visa appointment. However, everyone says that in the past they have just flown to NBO and waited in line (for most of the day) and had success.

3 Responses to “Eden Has a Passport!”

  1. Carey Says:

    Awesome!!! I’m glad everything is going so well. Best of luck with the embassy…can’t wait to see you all soon!

  2. Mom Says:

    Hooray, hooray!!! So glad that Eden has her passport :)

  3. Lyn Watson Says:

    God is faithful!

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