Tuesday, September 8, 2009


After all the elections mess when we had to stay home practically the whole time, we finally managed to make another trip to the glamorous CEDOC offices. It was about time, too - my visa expires on Sunday, September 13. This time we were smarter: we had called the boss' secretary or the boss' secretary's secretary... we had called a secretary and made an appointment with the General (they use military ranks out there, even though they're not soldiers).

The first obstacle (beyond which we did not manage to get last time) was the big gate and the two soldiers guarding it. We informed them of our appointment and they let us pass. The gentleman in front of us was not as lucky - they didn't let him in because he was wearing sandals and thus was not dignified enough to enter the building. Jandro was wearing nice shoes and a jacket, looking dignified as hell.

We waited in front of the Carte de Sejour building for about 30 minutes until it opened at 8:15 or so. Inside it looks a bit like a post office, which was a bit of a disappointment, I think I was expecting at least a Ministry of Magic kind of aesthetics. There were various employees stationed at their respective counters of which there are four types: Verification, Signing (don't ask because I don't know), Photo and Collecting, plus a cash register where you are supposed to leave huge amounts of money. All this guarded by angry-looking employees who are the very opposite of helpful and a policeman who chose the lucky ones to come inside.

We were interviewed by the General (or was it Captain?), who took all of our papers and frowned upon the fact that we're not married (according to the law it's impossible for me to get a carte de sejour: we're not married and I have no official work contract). But with a wee bit of goodwill everything can be solved. We went through all the stages: a lady at the first stand "verified" my papers (took her a while since her main occupation was chatting to her colleague). A gentleman from Signing signed and send us to the till. We waited while the big cashier finished talking on her mobile and accepted our money (don't even ask how much). A nice gentleman took a picture of me and took my fingerprints and said we could now wait for my card by the last stand.

Impossible! In less than an hour I get my carte de sejour! People wait for months, they must resolve to bribery, they falsify papers to prove they're married and me... I get it so quickly, so painlessly! In high spirits I rush to the little window when my name (or something to that effect) is called out, I show my passport, I take the pretty little card in my hands, I smile at Jandro, tears of happiness in my eyes, we both look at the card; me - a resident of Gabon!, yes, it's my name on the card! ...or is it? KATARZAYNIA KONIECKA, it says. Hmmm.

They told us to come back in two days (tomorrow at 10 am, specifically) and pick up the card with the name corrected. Apparently, it is impossible to correct it on the spot. They wouldn't give us any confirmation that we'd paid, any receipt, nothing. What did I learn? Don't wear sandals. And don't get excited until something becomes a solid fact.

TIA. This is Africa.


  1. Oh, Katarzaynia, still it's a great relief to have something arranged, no? :-) I'm keeping my fingers crossed for the correct name :-D.
    Btw, what about the elections?

  2. I'll write a post on elections today pm or tomorrow... I've had a lot on my hands latey :)