The visa situation for PCVs in Mozambique has been a nightmare this year. The prices of both 30-day and one-year visas went up from last year, the government changed the system so that we are renewing at a provincial level rather than all in Maputo, and of course nothing happens in a timely fashion in this country, so the payments for our new visa didn’t arrive to the provincial capitals before our old ones expired. My one year visa expired the Friday I was supposed to go down to training (in a different province) so I ended up having to go a day early, going to Namaacha, where Mozambique borders Swaziland, with a few other PCVs who were in the same boat, leave the country, come back in, and upon reentry buy a 30-day visa. The nice part of this process was getting to see some PCVs who live up north and whom I haven’t seen since training ended last year and who I won’t see again until our Closing of Service conference. Now that I am back at site I have to go to my provincial capital on Friday to actually get my one-year visa, which my fellow PCVs have warned me will be a bit of a nightmare, though I am hoping that by the time I go (since most of my colleagues have already been) they will have gotten the hang of things. And Emma and other PCVs from her group had to go to Maputo this week to renew their visas, I am not sure why but I am glad I don’t have to travel that far.
While being stared at all the time can get old, there are certain perks to being a celebrity. In Xai-Xai (about three hours south, basically halfway between here and Maputo) there is an Indian restaurant—incredibly exciting because this is the ONLY variation in menu you can find outside of Maputo. When I went there a month ago I made friends with the owner and, when he found out where I live, said that he has a friend who drives up to Maxixe (thus drives through my town) about once per month and he could send Indian food with him when he did. I excitedly agreed and gave my numbers, though I regretted it later, thinking that he would never actually follow through on that offer and I had given my number out to yet another creepy man here. Today he called me and said his friend was heading my way this afternoon, did I want Indian? YES! So this evening Ann, Meagan (a PCV who is a teacher in Vilanculos), and I feasted on delicious Indian food in the comfort of Ann’s beautifully painted house. Meagan thanked me for the hook-up, I replied, “It’s because I have white skin, you’re welcome.”