What I kind of considered to be a black swan (very low probability) happened: the long term visa for Namibia didn’t work out in time for me to be able to stay in the country. Hence, I had to get out. Since the closest border was Botswana (Kasane) at the time I found out (three days before my tourist visa expired), here I am in Kasane.
Truth be told, my heart sank a bit when I found out that I have to get out. Wednesday, 15th of March, was not a good day. Three months is long enough to get used to a place, enough to get comfortable, get attached to some people, enough to know your way around, to add a few new words and daily expressions that locals use all the time to your vocabulary, enough to understand a bit the culture, such that you know how to approach someone. And especially when you’ve decided in your mind that you want to stay longer, finding out that you have no choice but to leave comes with a nasty feeling.
“What if” questions…
In my mind, I came out with a lot of answers to the question “What if my visa doesn’t work out and I have to get out of Namibia?”. Most of them I thought as being good options, I thought I would be happy choosing any of them. Yet, I did think that the probability of me actually having to choose among those options was very low. So when it did happen, my heart just sank. Unplanned plans… messiness… uncertainties, all on a tight budget.
The full story is as such: Namibian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) was supposed to apply for a long term volunteer permit for me. I sent whatever documents were needed from me to the organization, they sent everything to NCCI. Three days before my visa was expiring, when the organization called NCCI to check on the progress, wanting to make sure that it’s fine for me to stay in Namibia since I have a pending application, the story changed. NCCI doesn’t do the application, the organization should do that directly. And no, I can’t be in the country if my tourist visa expires. I don’t even have a pending application, nothing was submitted. Great.
Extension of a tourist visa, anyone? Two hours and a half of waiting in the hallway while the entire office in Katima (north east of Namibia) was analyzing my passport – good sign, I thought, they are trying to help. Trying but failing. Final response: if I don’t get out of the country on the 18th, I’ll get arrested. Huh…although blogging from a prison might be cool and it even comes with free food and accommodation, I don’t like bars.
So now…maybe I’ll have a longer term visa for Namibia in a month…maybe in two months…maybe it won’t work at all…no idea. The process is not very straight forward and I have no control over it. All I know so far is that tomorrow I’ll head to Maun – there’s a cool couchsurfer there who’s willing to host me again for a few days. Next week is still uncertain…stay longer in Maun? Head to Gaborone? Try to get a visa for South Africa/ Lesotho /Swaziland? We shall see. One day at a time.
Update as of 11th of April: I’ve finally decided to stay longer in Maun. My application was only submitted yesterday, it will take about one month to be processed.