So this blog is long over due. And I am going to basically create a picture of what I meant when I put that header for my blog.
Imagine a mother with her 4 minor kids in a foreign country, and they have a confirmed flight from one country to another. and their flight is due in 9 hours…… ok now that I have created that image in your mind let me get to the main issue. I have a Ghana passport meaning I am probably screened more than other people from other country. I have a confirmed flight for me and my 4 minor kids and with my Ghana passport I don’t have a visa….yeap thats right, I don’t have a visa for me to travel with my kids to Peru ( but my kids are american citizens with american passport so they are ready to fly)…am sure you are saying thats an irresponsible act on my part to not have a visa 9 hours before my international flight with my kids from Brazil to Peru… well don’t judge me yet until I finish this blog.
So on February 5th 2016, my family and I arrived in Brazil to start our 2016 south america tour..as a responsible law abiding citizen doing my best to respect the law….with my passport expiring on August 23 2016 ( meaning I have 6 months before my passport will expire).
So I did what I needed to do, apply for a passport renewal in the country which I am in that has my country’s embassy. which in this case is the Ghana embassy in Brasilia which is the only Ghana Embassy in all of south america. so as you can tell I had no other embassy to apply this renewal at.
So I contacted the embassy and I was given the consulate in charge of the passport processing contact. I did everything that was required. I filled out the forms and I paid the money through the postal services in Rio de Jenairo which was my location at that moment. I got an email back from my embassy saying that my passport will take about 1 to 3 months. I was ok with that since I knew that I had 6 months ahead of me.
so on February 23rd I sent my application and made my payment and all was set. I was in touch with the one in charge constantly on whatsapp…so you can tell I was on top of my game.
After 2 months… no passport and the whatsapp message is…its in process… ok I got time 4 months before my passport will expire…
After 3 months…no passport and another whatsapp message is ….its in process… ok I got time 3 months before I will really need my passport…
At this point I have to travel from Brazil to Argentina and as the embassy of Argentina grants my visa with the hopes that I will receive my new passport before my old one expires while in Argentina…
After 5 months…no passport… and another whatsapp message saying…its in process you will get it before your old one expires….
Around July 10th, I got a whatsapp message from the Ghana embassy saying that my passport is ready in Ghana and it is ready for the diplomatic dispatch ( Bullshit) …I was excited but still shocked that it has taken this long…
Wednesday August 10th I had arrived in Salvador from Argentina. at this point I have 2 weeks before my passport will expire and the same day I have a confirmed flight from Brazil to Peru with my 4 young kids…. so you can tell the worry at this point.
so I decided to call my friend in UK who knew someone in Ghana passport office to just check and see if there is any chance that i have a new passport in the system….
Here is where the shocking news hit me…the guy at the passport office said its still my old passport in the system and that if there was any passport process done it will definitely be in the system.
I remember that night as I was sitting in my living room in Salvador with only 14 days to travel and no passport and no visa……
I immediately called the consulate in charge…and I broke the news to him…Mr. Ebo..I have confirmed that there is no new passport for me in the system in Ghana passport office…..with a pause in his voice…he said “mmmmhhhh I don’t even know what happened to your Passport” ….as this point am sure you could feel my heart beat and my blood boiling and me trying to hold on to the little respect I have left for the man I have never met….I could not even say anything…my words just got stuck in me….he told me at this point if I know anyone in Ghana who can get the new passport done for me I should please contact the person…”oh my God is this guy freakin kidding me…the rubbish and the audacity of him to even suggest this to me…I asked him what is the use of an embassy if you cannot help the people from that country… it is my taxes that are used to pay you to sit here and make decision based on ignorance… I mean this people have no idea what it takes to run an embassy to help its people and protect us in this foreign land.. men I was fumed up…needless to say I ended the call with the little respect I have left for them all.
So I did his job for him…I called more friends and with their help I got my passport to be processed for real this time around…so I only have 14 days…
On August 17th I decided time is not on my side…with our non refundable and not changeable 5 international flight tickets…I have to do something…So I went to the Peru Embassy and I explained my situation to them. And they advice that the only way I can get that visa is to have that new passport. and they said they can start the visa process if I can get a copy of my new passport to them while i wait on it to be mailed from Ghana since the visa cannot be processed with my old passport since it expires the day that I depart to Peru. Which is totally understandable. And they are more competent to me as a foreigner going into their country than my own people. ( Gosh I just feel like using not so pleasant words to describe those people at the Ghana embassy in Brazil )…. Well so I got the copy for my new passport through whatsapp that day. And the next day my passport was sent through FedEx international from Ghana to Brazil. with only 5 days left before my travel… and in Rio that Thursday and Monday was a holiday meaning the Peruvian embassy is closed and so is FedEx office. so my only chance of receiving that passport will be Tuesday August 23rd The day my old passport is officially expired and the day my flight depart to Peru….Now you get my point how my blog started…
So Tuesday Morning I made a phone call to FedEx and request that my passport be delivered first thing…but to my surprise they start their delivery from 1 pm and the Peruvian Embassy closes at 3 pm and my flight leaves at 9 pm and with traffic I have to leave for the airport at 5 pm…..
So I did what I felt was a smart move..I took an uber to the FedEx office where my passport is which is about 1 hour away from my apartment. I arrived there at 9:50 am. But they don’t open till 10 am….so I was their first customer. Well they released my passport no issues. another 1 hour drive back into town and to the Peruvian embassy.
I arrived and the Lady with super amazing and welcoming smiles says you are really a lucky lady. she said ” your visa has been approved” and she took my passport and prepared to put my Peruvian visa inside. Yeap in 20 min she has finished putting my visa inside my new Ghana passport… and in 6 months my incompetent Ghana embassy team could not even get me a passport renewal….
ohhh… and this could be funny…I called the consulate office ( the Ghana embassy) and asked that my $288 be refunded back to me since they did not renew my passport, here at the words from the consulate in charge ” well this can be a problem since you applied in February and the embassy accounts have been balanced it will be difficult to refund you your money, but all the same send an email to the embassy and I will take it to the consulate and see if there is something that can be done”…I am really patient,…because at this point I am just laughing with disgust that he can even say some stupid words like that to me….seriously….
If nothing is done with this Ghana Embassy that is representing us in all of south America… then sorry to say but we are lost as foreigners in any South American country…and am told from friends this is not the first time and am probably the 1000’s of victims who have has such experiences. It really a sad situation and really sad to even be associated with such incompetent team representing my Country Ghana.
well I made it that day to Peru and as I blog I am actually sitting at the airport waiting on my Peru flight…and with a smile on my face saying…” there is HOPE…but definitely not from the Ghana embassy citizen session in Brasilia…
well its 1am so I guess time to shut down my computer…
A very special note to all those who helped me in getting my passport done in time and going through all the trouble to assist me. Am truly grateful and will always be grateful for your love and support. Thank you so much.
Glad it’s all over, the incompetences and behaviour of the staff at some of these embassies is appalling and makes me wonder their qualifications and the criteria used to employ them. There are many people out there much more competent but they rather bring those incompetent ones just because they have one political affiliation, they also don’t care for the citizens they represent….yet they boast of working at the Ghanaian Embassy.
I think this is happening in all our foreign missions. Incompetence at the highest level..I dare any journalist or official to visit the Ghana Embassy in Berlin,Germany any day any time and you’d be surprised at the appalling Stories concerning delays in issuing new and replacing passports after people have paid huge sums of money..This incompetence & mediocrity must stop..God Bless Ghana
It is really sad…and they have this stupid excuse that it’s the issue from Ghana office. And to refund my $200 they said it’s in treasury