After work today Ann, Emma, and I got together to celebrate Thanksgiving. Just as Thanksgiving should be, we made more food than was possible to eat, and we ate until we were uncomfortably full. We made stuffing, cinnamon bread, mashed potatoes, ramen (homemade, not from a packet), apple crisp, ratatouille, and salad. It was delicious.
I had to go to the Migration office on Monday to get my one-year visa because mine from the previous year had expired and the one I got when I left and reentered a few weeks is only a 30-day visa. We showed up at 7:45am to be ready when the doors opened at 8am. But when the doors opened at 8am the only people they let enter were some workers and policemen. We asked what was going on and found out that the office had been robbed the night before. Hopefully the robbers didn’t find the American passport information for every Peace Corps Volunteer in Inhambane Province who is in the process of renewing their visa. We decided to leave and go eat breakfast and come back which turned out to be a good decision because after an hour of breakfast in one of the only air conditioned buildings around (delightful) we returned right as the doors were opening. I eventually pushed my way to the desk and when I told the woman why I was there, she told me I needed to go to a different window. I knew that I needed to get a form to fill out so I asked her if she could give it to me, but she told me the other person would give it to me. I went to that window and waited about 30 minutes. At one point a woman appeared but when asked, she said she was not the person, the person was coming. I asked if it would even be possible to do the process today (like had any essential equipment or forms been stolen?), she told me that the other person would help me. I asked if that person was here or hadn’t even arrived to work yet, she told me the other person would answer all of my questions. Eventually this person showed up, I got my form, filled it out, and waited with the other white people also getting one-year visas. All of the information had to be entered into the computer which would have taken a long time with a highly proficient computer user—in this case it took longer. Eventually I had finished the process for applying for a one-year visa, but then they have to ship all of my information to Maputo to be processed, and then Maputo will send the visa back and I will have to return to pick it up. The Brazilian couple in front of me asked how much time it would take to receive the visas. The woman responded that it would take time. Between all of us volunteers we have been told between one and three months. Since I will be leaving the country before I receive my one-year visa, I had to also request a form that would allow me to leave Mozambique and reenter without physically having my visa. I went to one window and asked for the form, she told me I needed to get it from the window to her left. I asked at that window, received the form, and tried to hand it back in at that window, but was told that I need to pay for it at the window to her right. I paid for it and she handed the form and receipt back to me and told me to turn it in at the window to my left. They sit about 4 feet apart and can easily pass things between themselves. I will have to return next week to pick up this form.