So here I am, in Africa... but not quite into any solid work yet... just bumbling about, trying to entertain myself in Nairobi, as I anxiously anticipate a successful DRC visa application - the ONLY reason that I'm actually in Nairobi for 3 days!
After 30 hours travel (Hob-Nairobi), I timed it so I turned up on the doorstep of the Democratic Republic of Congo Embassy in Nairobi on the dot of 8.30 in the morning (straight from the airport, with my pack, unwashed hair, sleepy eyes, and everything)... I waited outside until they opened at about 9.15. I was the first person to see the receptionist, who looked at my passport, and told me flatly that they "couldn't" grant visas to Australians, only to Kenyan residents. I explained very calmly my situation. She said I should've got a visa in Australia. I said there weren't any DRC embassies in Australia. She said I should've got one in the country closest to Australia with a DRC embassy. I told her that here I was, in Kenya - the closest country with a DRC embassy. She paused... left the room to talk to a man with 'higher powers'... and returned, saying they could not grant me a visa, and there was nothing they or I could do.
I asked if I could go across the hallway myself and chat to this Man. She hesitated, and said I could try. I knocked hesitantly on the door, and he looked up with an irritated expression on his face. I attempted to explain my situation. He interrupted loudly, and repeated the same things. I explained again. He interrupted again, even angrier, and started ranting about "all Australians coming here and expecting to get a visa". He said I should've gone via Europe if there was no embassy in Australia. I burst into tears... not deliberately, I just couldn't bear the prospect of hopping on another plane and coming straight back to Australia. He yelled at me and threatened to make me leave the building. I apologised, and he angrily told me to wait in the waiting room till the Ambassador arrived - when, he did not know.
I sat in the waiting room, thoroughly distraught and pessimistic about the whole thing, and tried to concentrate on reading my novel. 45 minutes later, the Man returned and asked me to come in to his office again (no sign of the Ambassador whatsoever), and proceeded to ask for my paperwork, do some stamping and approve my visa application!!! I then just had to do a few errands (to the bank, etc) to pay for it, and then he told me to return at 3.30 (on the dot!) on Friday to pick up my passport and my visa!!!
You can understand how my ability to trust God has considerably strengthened through this last 6 months of saga after saga!
My thoughts went continually back to Lucy and Seth... there is no way she would've tolerated the last 36 hours... thank the good Lord that we decided that Seth and Lucy would stay at home!
Such luxury, then, after traipsing across a hot, dusty Nairobi city centre, with my heavy pack on my back, to arrive at my hotel, with a big, clean bed and air-conditioning.
Since that afternoon, I've been catching up on lost sleep, having some odd meals, trying to find good coffee, exploring Nairobi city by foot (can't be bothered doing touristy things that I've done before, especially now that I'm on my own, with noone to show!), attempting communication with Seth, finding a 2nd-hand bookshop, and trying to rest before the next leg of my journey, starting at 5am tomorrow morning (assuming I do get my visa today - one can never be too sure!).
Tomorrow, I fly to Kigali (Rwandan capital), then from Kigali to Kamembe (Rwandan town on the border with DRC), and then one of Dad's friends will pick me up in a taxi, and we'll attempt the border crossing into Bukavu, DRC - at around 3pm on Saturday, the 30th (Rwanda is 8 hours behind Australia). For this, your prayers will be hugely appreciated!
Thanks again for following. Will continue to do my best to update you frequently.