November 17, 2008


One thing I’ve learned a bit about while living in Africa is visas. Like many other topics, this was something I was hopelessly unaware of before moving to Mthatha. I have a one-year volunteer visa to live in South Africa. When I went to Uganda or Lesotho, I needed to get visas. In both cases, it was fairly simple. I paid some money, they stamped the passport, and that was that. It’s a pretty smooth path when you are a white male with an American passport.

But I’ve been learning about how difficult it can be for non-white non-Americans to get visas. At our Bible study one night, someone’s prayer request for was another (non-white) person applying for a visa to the U.S. to further a sister church relationship. At a conference I attended in September, one of the organizers was unable to attend because she was from Central America and couldn’t get a visa.

Anyway, I hope this has been obvious to everyone but me. The U.S. likes to make things difficult for people to get in, even people who have very good reasons for visiting and whose visits would make the country stronger. I take for granted my freedom of movement but not everyone can.