Sometimes in life it’s all about being in the right place at the right time. Having applied for a visa for Togo and Benin the day before, I couldn’t resist stepping by Ouagadougou’s immigration office when we passed by. Wouldn’t it be great if it were ready and we wouldn’t have to return later that afternoon..?
Most desks were empty, just a few employees around. Sleeping that is. The only lady awake told me to return after 3pm since they were all enjoying lunch break.
Lunch time it was indeed, so Yves and I sat down in a nearby restaurant. The owner was a firm lady, who instantly asked me to take her home to France. She was kind of disappointed to hear I was not from France, it – in her opinion – being the best of all countries for you could easily earn a lot of money there. She was very disappointed with me when I told her that earning a lot of money in Europe comes with long days of hard work as well as a lot of expenses.
She expressed her ‘gratitude’ by rising the price of the meals. It’s not gonna buy her a ticket and visa to France though.
Returning to the immigration office people were awake, back at their desks and asking for my passport a hand waved towards a large table in the middle of the room. Piles of passports were on it, including mine.
The moment I picked it up, looking around to where I could have it ‘checked out’, the same lady who had told me to return after 3pm started shouting at me. ‘You’ll have to wait till 4pm!’
‘But it is ready, isn’t it?’, I asked suprised.
‘Yes it is.’
‘So then I can take it, can’t I?’
‘No, you can’t, it’s written on your receipt that it can be picked up after 4.’
She had already turned her back on me.
Outside I informed Yves, who had a good laugh over the flabbergasted expression on my face.
5 minutes later he walked out of the office with a bright smile on his face, my passport in his hand.
Togo here I come!