Dawbies in Africa

DEALING WITH BUREAUCRACY

15 Nov 2012

 

Sometimes in Australia we become impatient if we have to wait too long for a service or for something to arrive. We are an instant society; time is precious, time is money. We have discovered, since arriving in Namibia, that waiting is an art form, a way of life, possibly even character building.

While recently dining with a missionary family here in Windhoek we heard them talk about their eldest daughter applying for her Learner Driver Permit. They dropped her and a friend off at the appropriate office at 4 in the morning where she joined the queue! By midday she was in the front door of the building and early afternoon she had her Permit, by which time people were arriving to queue up for the following day (camping overnight). Their eldest son needs to go for his driving test, but at the moment can not bring himself to go through with the waiting process; there are many more things he would rather do with his time.

One of the projects we have been working on for Family of Hope Services (FHS) is the writing of a simple booklet explaining the importance of birth registration. Sometimes cultural traditions or family circumstances prevent this from happening at the time of birth and so the mother is meant to go to the Home Affairs Office in town with a variety of paperwork and register her child.

However, if you are an unemployed mother living in the informal settlement areas of Windhoek it takes a while to save up the N$18 to catch a taxi into town. We have heard many stories of such mothers waiting most of the day, finally reaching the counter only to be told that one of their papers is incorrect or the office is closed for the day and they have to come back tomorrow which they simply cannot afford to do. It all becomes too hard and the baby goes unregistered, causing numerous problems as they grow older.

FHS is working hard to lobby the department to send a mobile office into the informal settlement areas so that the process is made accessible. The wheels move slowly, but they remain prayerful that this will occur some time next year.

When a government is dealing with an unemployment rate of close to 51% you can understand them being a little cautious about granting Work Visas/permits to foreigners. Just about all the SIM team in Namibia are due to reapply for their work permits in the New Year.

Once all the necessary paperwork is submitted it can take quite a few months before the missionaries are informed of the decision to let them stay or otherwise. They all wish to continue God’s work here in Namibia, but they need the authority and permission of the government to do so. They are all praying that they may be granted these, preferably for a 2 year period rather than 1 and that they will not have too long to wait to hear. In the interim they are relying on God, His promises and His sovereignty over all things. We would encourage you to join with them in prayer that their applications would all be successful.

I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.             1 Timothy 2 : 1 - 2

PS: The Teachers' Strike is now over. It lasted two weeks & occurred just prior to the end of year exams. 

Further to our previous blog on "hair", the girls at the After School Program also take great delight in platting Kate's hair when ever they have the opportunity!

 

Like Australia, in Namibia telecommunications equipment is installed on the highest landmark. If that landmark however happens to be a tree, then so be it!