Thursday, July 16, 2009

Preparing to Go

The word is out! I'm planning a visit to my husband in the Sudan.
Today, 16 July is exactly 3 years since I returned home after living and working in West Africa for three years.
I feel it's time for me to go to my beloved husband for a stint.
Yesterday morning he sent me a message asking me to send him a copy of my passport so that he could arrange a visa. As I retrieved the document from my safe, my heart sank. I had not touched this little book for three years and something told me that it may have expired. It just shows how happy I've been living back in South Africa, renovating my home, tending my garden and enjoying my grandchildren. Most of my friends have been overseas a few times in this period while I have not moved out of the country.
I opened the passport and noted that it was still valid until the end of November this year. Phew! I breathed a sigh of relief. I Skyped my husband and while he was on the the line, he asked me to check how many pages I had left in the book. I paged to the back and there was one page still blank. When I told him, he said I would not be allowed into a foreign country with less than two blank pages in my passport.
So as this post is being aired this morning, I will be in the city waiting in a queue at Home Affairs. For most people this is quite a harrowing experience as the queues are long and they move slowly. Once you reach the counter and fill out the application forms and hand over the payment, the forms are placed (actually tossed) on a shelf behind the clerk. You are issued with a receipt and told you should receive your new passport within 6 weeks. I am earnestly praying that the system will be kind to me and my passport will arrive in time. I am due to fly to North Africa on 6th September.
I wonder if many readers are aware of an interesting piece of trivia regarding the first page in a passport? The words "The President of the Republic of South Africa [or any other country] requests all whom it may concern t allow the bearer of this passport to pass freely without let or hindrance and to afford the bearer all necessary assistance and protection" come from a Scripture in the Bible. Nehemia 1:7 says: "If it please Your Majesty, give me letters to the govenors of the province west of the Euphrates River, instructing them to let me travel safely through their territories on the way to Judah."


  1. I know the feeling! Lived outside my native Bulgaria most of my life - really annoying when passports are about to expire. Renewing from abroad is a nightmare - especially to find a photographer who would comply with the ridiculous requirements :)

  2. Tat's an interesting story. We aren't allowed to travel on a passport that will expire within 6 months, but I've never heard about the two empty pages before. I wonder if it was easier or harder to travel in biblical times.We hear awful stories about upheavels in Africa. Are you comfortable travelling and living there?

  3. Isn't that exciting! I'm happy for you and DH to get together again. Hope the officials are serious about your passport.
    Very best to you, D.

  4. Hi ellievellie, nice to see you again. I agree, renewing a passport really is the least exciting thing to do on my list. I should have check when I returned home >:(. I have returned from the Home affairs and will post an update on Saturday.

    Hi diane;) yes, when my husband told me to check on the pages available, he also said he thinks you have to have 6 months validity in your passport. More about this later this week!

    Hi Dedene;) thanks, I'm really beginning to look forward to it although I have HEAPS to organise before I go... I loved your birthday parties. Once again: Happy Birthday to you and your beloved dh!


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