Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Nail House???

One of the first things I did upon arriving in Kenya in September, was to start working on getting my work permit. I am currently allowed to be here because of the tourist visa I purchased through Customs in the airport ($25). A tourist visa is good for 3 months, at which point you can purchase a 3 month extension. After that, it’s technically illegal to be here without some kind of permit. The work permit can be valid for up to 4 years. So…I heard I was going to the ‘Nail House’ where the Immigration Office is to work on this. One of my male teammates told me he had a contact person there that helped he & his wife go through this process. He referred to her as “his ‘Nail House’ lady”….funny comment from a guy! Well, when we got there, I quickly learned that my ears aren’t quite tuned in to Swahili yet. It’s actually the ‘Nyayo House’. My bad:)

Here’s a step-by-step process I’ve gone through so far for getting my work permit…it’s one that tests your patience!
• Submit the application along with: 1) a letter from AfricaHope stating I’m volunteering with them & requesting I be issued a work permit, 2) at least 3 letters of recommendation from non-family members (thank you to those that wrote wonderful letters for me!), 3) copy of my birth certificate, 4) copy of my passport, 5) 10 passport sized photos, 6) copies of my diplomas, & 7) résumé.
• Wait…& wait….& wait…until the work permit has been approved.
• I went to check on the status of my work permit when I got back from Ethiopia. Stand in Line 9. I finally made it up to the counter & handed the lady my receipt from when the application had been turned in. She needed a reference number to be able to check. Go to Room 16.
• Wait in line…get the reference number…back to Line 9.
• Wait in line… When I made it to the counter again, I opened the folder with all my paperwork in it to hand her the receipt. It was gone! I started frantically looking. The guy behind me said he had seen a paper on the ground, but didn’t know where it went. I couldn’t find it! Back to Room 16.
• Get reference number, again. Back to Line 9. And wait….
• Third time’s a charm….when I finally made it to the counter again & gave her my reference number, she said it had been approved! Woo hoo! That was record time! It has taken months & even up to a year for other teammates to get their permits approved...my application was approved in 1 month!!!
• Back to Room 16…again. The lady there found the official document that said my work permit had been approved.
• Go to the Cashier’s desk. I was informed that I had to get a ‘Security Bond’ from either an insurance company or bank, & bring proof of that to him.
• Day 2…Security Bond. Turns out, I had to have an official AfricaHope stamp for the security bond paperwork. We had to have it sent by matatu (taxi) carrier from Narok to Nairobi first thing that morning. Then, off to the insurance company.
• I was very confused as to what a ‘Security Bond’ was, & no one at the insurance company was explaining it in a way that I understood. I heard the word ‘bond’, so I thought it would function like a bond in the States & I would get that money back after 4 years (paying 20,000 KES [about $250] for a bond valued at 100,000 KES), but I was informed I wouldn’t be getting that money back. I was determined to find out what this ‘Security bond’ was since it was so much money! So...I attempted to read the small print of the contract. It’s basically insurance for the Kenyan government against me! If I do anything while I’m here that costs them money, this ‘Security bond’ will cover it up to 100,000 KES ($1,250)…evacuation, medical, damage, etc. Interesting…
• Back to the Nyayo House. I showed the Cashier my proof of Security Bond. I then owed around 6,000 KES ($75 processing fee). He gave me a receipt & said to come back in 2 weeks & go to Room 16. Why not now?! Why 2 weeks if it’s already been approved & I just paid for everything?!
• I went down to Room 16 to check for myself. “Come back in 2 weeks”… So close yet so far away!
• I’ll be checking on it this Friday. If it’s ready, then I’ll apply for: 1) a re-entry permit (so I don’t have to buy a new visa each time I re-enter Kenya), 2) an alien card (so I can get Kenyan citizen prizes on things, especially the tourist attractions!), & 3) a Kenyan driver’s license. Prayers appreciated:)

1 comment:

  1. Yea, His provision,I think this confirms that you belong there, and yes we will keep praying!