Chapter 24b of my life I poised to be great. On December 2nd last year I got the news that I had been selected for yet another aiesec intern-ship, this time in Norway this time run by FK a Norwegian NGO focused on cultural interaction and learning, this time I would be going with 2 other Kenyans. All we had to do was scan in our passports and send them via email so that they could apply for the visa on the other side. This we did.
On 21/12/2011 a date we should have been suspicious of we got the email saying the visas were ready, our flights were booked and we just had to go and pick them up from the embassy. In this interconnected worlds we live in my first action was to google the Norwegian embassy in Kenya. And as luck deigns to defecate on the best laid plans the embassy was moving house. Moving on 21/12/2011 and settling into new premises on the 2nd of this year. This was perhaps too coincidentally the day the flight was booked for.
The actions of drowning men near straws were repeated , we clutched at them so much I now have a man purse(I can only make a joke like this because I have sisters.) but in the end we had to admit that it could not be done and ask for a flight extension. At this point we still believed that we could get the visas in a day and so the flight was set for the night of the 3rd.
Free advice to Kenyans all the embassies in the world are either on riverside drive or in Runda. We headed to Runda because we had found out that the Norwegian embassy had been shacking up with the Danish one which was in Runda. I called the receptionist who informed that he wasn't sure the living arrangements were as before. He said he would call me when he had firmer news on whether they would be coming to work there or not. And he did with the news that they wouldn't be working out of that embassy any more but they had moved to a new premises already in(surprise, surprise Runda.) things seemed to be working out we had the hope of the young and the energy to go with it.
We found the embassy and we were the first people to arrive there. Before the movers I would later discover. The security guard there is the most polite helpful guard I have ever experienced he listened to our concerns with a genuine desire to help. He let us in to sit as he went to find out what could be done which past experience has taught me is a big deal. He went in and found the only employee at the place and invited us to go talk to her about our visas. We walked she saw us and remarked rather prophetically,
“I heard a rumour you're travelling today.”
after this auspicious start we told her our woes and she asked us to have a sit as she saw what she could do. What she did was try to call up their former house mates and find out if they could give us the visa instead. No luck because it was that kind of day. Also this was before we knew that village market was not a place to hold barazas(Swahili word for meeting made famous by this woman(everyone should read this)). This was the spot of our crisis meeting also the only place we could get photos which are needed for the application.
The whole time we were corresponding with the Norwegians who were to host us. They were calling their foreign ministry who were sending emails across the sea and the air to their embassy. One of us had camped outside the Danish embassy just in case and the rest of us were waiting gofers between the embassy and the ministry of foreign affairs.
When the email was sent to the embassy asking them to facilitate our travel we went back now hopeful. We took a matatu for a distance of twenty metres(we lost ten that way.) we got off and went to talk to the lady again where-forth she delivered another gem.
“yer I have seen the email from Norway but unless they can also send a technician from Oslo to fix the systems on the next flight there's nothing I can do.”
with failure looming so large, taking the form of a twice extended plane ticket we proceeded to the nakumatt to get some liquor. We left behind our passports and a pick up time of Friday
On Friday the visas were ready. The flight is tonight(Saturday) and with that I am off to Europe for 6 months.