Long time readers (all 3 of you) will know that we harbour a long, deep love for Afghanistan.
So it will be no surprise that we were to return there – albeit for only a few weeks – this April. I was to do a risk assessment, and Julie to do an evaluation. Our kids were coming because they were to do a reconnection – reconnect with their old friends, their old places. The country and the life where they have lived; each of them, for at least half of their years. And, they have been really, really looking forward to this.
In readiness, I submitted our visa applications a month ago. Bear in mind that the website says turnaround of visas takes only 5 business days.
After three weeks, I grew worried. A call to the Embassy revealed that Kabul had not yet given permission for us to travel. More days passed. Our departure date grew near.
I will not recount here the numerous – bordering on tedious – number, and content of calls, conversations and agonisings that took place over the last week, as we mulled, mooted and masticated the options. Delay flights? Try in Dubai? Call it all off? Give Canberra more time?
In the end, we gave Canberra more time. We also allowed for a second effort in Dubai. As the Afghan proverb says, ‘Trust in God. But you should still tie up your camel’.
Today, we heard that Canberra has not issued visas. Probably, the issue was simply time. Just now, a colleague and friend recounted that it took her five weeks to get her visa. Earlier this month, other friends were so late in getting their visas, they had their passports couriered to them directly to the airport, just prior to departure.
We are going anyway. We’ll hope for visas in Dubai. God oversees all this, somehow. This I believe. ‘Oversee’ doesn’t mean ‘control’, and I do not assume to predict that the outcome we desire will eventuate. We’ll see. ‘Being in control’ is less a reality than we’d like to believe.
But I am tired of anticipating disappointment when it comes to Afghanistan. We just wanted to get there. Do some important work. Let the kids have a good time.
We were not, you know, expecting a revolution.