So it has been some time since we last blogged. It’s not that there has been nothing happening – on the contrary. We have been super busy getting organised to launch Operation Sister Act as well as starting to build new homes, hosting parties and going on medical trips etc (these I will detail in future blogs).
The real struggle has been trying to learn how to navigate the ‘interesting’ administrative system here.
At the start I couldn’t believe how long and time consuming each individual administrative process took. Most of them involved us travelling regularly to the capital city 1½ hours away. God bless our team who sometimes accompanied us and patiently sat in the hallways waiting. Suffice to say Chris and I now know most Government departments pretty well.
I saw this postcard the other day and Chris and I couldn’t help but laugh because we have learnt that it is painfully true…there is ‘No Hurry in Africa’. Oh and by the way ……laughing! – well that is a prerequisite or you go crazy. In fact I think we have been borderline insane at times.
Even the local bus rank keeps moving between two spots with many fighting against change. It has kept us entertained but progress is definately slow.
So for a quick dot point insight of the last few weeks we have:
• Registered the car and now own the coveted blue book (which tells us we own the car) – oh and this includes buying a another car as our previous one died 🙁
• Gained work permits (we now don’t need to leave the country every 30 days -this will also help us in 2013)
• Started the registration process for Operation Hope Swaziland, which includes registering the Operation Hope name
• Gained tax clearance numbers – don’t ask us why. We don’t really know either.
• Gained a tax file number… again ????
• Open an official Operation Hope bank account
• Had meetings with the Regional Secretary and Administrator (very important – they need to know we are working in the Lubombo region) and the Siteki Mayor.
We also had a pretty cool meeting with Special Envoy to Africa Bob McMullen and the Australian High Commissioner Ms Ann Harrap. This was a random invite from them (they were in Swaziland) which hopefully will bear some fruit in the future. It was a great networking opportunity.
We would love to share some of the funny and frustrating moments dealing with Swaziland bureaucracy. Please ask us when we come home about how we achieved these things in such a short time. Some of the tales are hilarious. Like this pic…
The hallways are full of files from the roof to the floor with this one covering – yep the fire hose! Let’s hope and pray that there is never a fire.
As we reflect on all that we have accomplished (from an administration perspective at least) it really does feel like a miracle.