Wednesday, February 3
Our day started off even earlier than yesterday. We had to get up, dressed, showered and out the door by 7:15. At 7:15 (as we were leaving), Tisetso asked, “What’s for breakfast?” Oops! New parents coming through! After quickly cutting an apple and grabbing a granola bar, we were on the road! We had to meet a social worker from Wandisa (our adoption agency in South Africa) and another family (our friends, the Saarela family) at the offices. We were all going to drive together to the Department of Home Affairs. Our objective: get passports for our kids!
We had been told that one of the social workers went to the Home Affairs office to stand in line for us and that it could take all morning. I was expecting to have to stand in a line for most of the day. Thankfully, we were in an out in just under a couple of hours.
We went to the Home Affairs that is a little more rural. It is on the outskirts of a huge informal settlement (massive town of shanty homes). It was encouraging to see that a really nice hospital and new mall were being built right there, too. That combination of poverty and nice options would not sit side by side in the States. We parked our car in the parking lot (sand and rock area where other cars were congregating) and trudged to the building. Thankfully, this was a different office than the place where the social worker has to wait in line for hours on your behalf. We were able to walk right in and sit in our spot in line. The line was about 50-70 people in front of us. Whenever the line moved, you’d get up and move a few spots, then sit back down in the corresponding chair.
While waiting in line, I decided it was worth bribing Tisetso to get him to wear his bowtie in his passport picture. I was willing to go up to R5, which is one large silver coin, (worth just over 25 cents) to make this adorable thing happen. After getting all the way up to the R5, Tisetso was unmoved. Improvising, I grabbed all of the cent pieces I had in my wallet, totaling R1.50 (5 coins total). I won! Tisetso wore his bowtie in his passport photo! I’ll be sure to add a picture when we get it.
At one point, while waiting, some dude randomly came up and pushed Tisetso out of his seat, then sat down in his spot. I almost momma bear’d that dude. (That’s a verb, right?) Luckily it took me by surprise and after a beat, I had Tisetso come sit with me.
Another fun experience was the restrooms at this place. I excused myself and went to the ladies' room. After seeing two stalls were out of order, one with suspicious liquid all over the place, and two occupied, I decided to take my chances and wait for an occupied stall to open up. The first one open had a male security guard walk out. This took my by surprise. The next surprise? No toilet paper! Thankfully, I came prepared. I later found out that you are supposed to grab a pre-portioned wad of toilet paper before entering the bathrooms. My confusion was justified as the toilet paper was nowhere near the bathrooms and happened to see it much later upon leaving the building. I'm filing this one under fun adventures in Africa.
After the picture, we had to get our information input into the system. There was almost a big issue (miscommunication), but thankfully, the social worker was able to sort it out. After a little waiting and some copies made of our paperwork, we were done! It was pretty painless (Aside from being out R1.50).
We headed back to our flat via Woolworths to get some groceries. After that, we did school (T played educational games on the iPad) and got ready to welcome grandma and grandpa Malcolm! Their flight arrives around 10:30 tonight. They will be staying in a hotel close to the airport and Brian will pick them up tomorrow morning at checkout time (hopefully after a full night's rest).