Slowly by slowly the egg walks...so the Ethiopian saying goes. Today we saw this proverb in action. We had been told to collect our residency cards at 10:30 AM on Monday. Bishop Grant says that we have set a new record for getting my work permit and our residency cards within the space of just over a week...three days over a week to be precise. We attribute this to the prayers of all our supporters and the amazing prior leg work done by our Diocesan staff and friends.
So, like typical Westerners, we arrived at immigration half an hour early. No problem, I was told as the man behind the counter whipped out my card from a stack that looked very much like a poker pack. But then...he shuffled through them again, peering at Louise from time to time. He put down the cards and began to type on the computer. Uh oh...what's up, doc? No, he said, it has been approved, but it was coming from a different department. Could we wait for twenty minutes? Sure. Why not?
In the meantime, Doctor Wendy was stuck in traffic trying desperately to get our two little cardiac surgery candidates to see the doctor before noon. Louise and I had heard that they needed to see him when we dropped off a photograph of little Wecca this morning before leisurely walking over to immigration. A quick call..yes, we have cell phones...and the driver was off to pick them up...but no one anticipated the traffic. Perhaps it is because the Ethiopian New Year is around the corner? September 11...
So, we are waiting...Wendy is waiting...and the egg still only has one leg.
Finally a stash of new cards come in...no Louise. Ten minutes. Just wait ten more minutes. "Is there a problem?" I asked. No problem. Approved. Another stash came in twenty minutes later...another furious shuffling and glancing nervously at Louise. Room 81. Sorry? Room 81. I suddenly felt like a little boy being told to go to the principal's office. No problem. Room 81.
So we toddled off to Room 81. "Why are you here?" the lady enquired. "Well, we were told to come here." Furious discussion ensued as Louise's receipt was passed on from one person to another. "Wait here." "Is there a problem? Do you need more documents?" "No problem." As this point I couldn't help myself. "Ah," I said, " slowly by slowly the egg walks." The whole office burst out laughing. "Yes," the lady said, "but you had better wait outside."
So we waited...and waited...until we were told to go back to Room 90 and then told to come back after lunch. By this time, Wendy had seen the doctor and all was set for the wee one's surgery some time later this month. She met us outside immigration, we went for a leisurely lunch and, sure enough, the egg got its other leg after lunch!
We now have what we need to move freely around and in and out of the country! We are legal aliens! Praise the Lord! So the plan is to leave for Gambela on Saturday. There is still much to be done, meetings to be held, supplies to be bought...but we will be going to Gambela, and that right soon, as the Prayer Book says!
And so we continue to learn...the egg will walk...eventually. And in the meantime, we will rest in the knowledge that our Lord knows the perfect time for the legs to hatch.