I am a CEDOC veteran. Last September I fought for my carte de séjour. Then I managed to get a visa de sortie. Twice. I've spent several hours queuing on a hard wooden bench, I've been patronized, proposed to and then patronized some more. I left enourmous amounts of money there. So nothing will surprise me about the place anymore. Or will it? Last week we went over to the magnificent offices to apply for another visa the sortie and to find out that I was wrong - I should never have taken success at CEDOC for granted. My arrogance was punished once more.
To get out of the country you need a visa. To get the visa you need the application form, two photos, a copy of your passport, a copy of your residence permit and proof that you paid the fee (60 000 CFA, 90 euros), which is issued by the CEDOC cash register lady, who always seems to be on the phone. I had my documents, I had my money, I was expecting nothing but big success. Cocky, far too cocky.
On entering the office, we noticed that all the employees were sucking on lollipops. So far so good, I thought, it must be somebody's birthday. As soon as I said down to talk to one of the gentlemen, a lollipop sticking out of his mouth, sucky noises instead of Bonjour, I was confronted with a question I could not understand. I asked him to repeat several times and finally it dawned upon me that I'm one document short. The gentleman was kind enough to explain that I needed to run (quickly) to the Trésor Public office and pay an additional fee of 2000 CFA (3 euros!), where I would get a receipt, vital for the issuing of the visa. Of course, the Trésor is right on the other side of the city, and, quick as I am, all running within the opening hours of both institutions was out of the question. We left the place as most people do, sulking. Once again, CEDOC had won the battle.
Luckily, the story has a happy ending. Three days after the fiasco, I managed to pay a visit at the Trésor. Armed in the receipt and determination, I came back to the visa office and, unless they lose my passport, I will be able to visit my Mom and Dad this summer. What did I learn? A helicopter would be nice.
Picture downloaded here.