April 19, 2005 Matthew

Don’t Argue with the Border Officials!

My attempt to re-enter Kenya was no good. They had zero mercy.

Although I had a renewed visa waiting for me in Nairobi, the Kenyan border officials at the Kenya-Uganda border would not allow me in. Don’t ask me how this works. They still do everything by paper out here.

On top of this, I was also taken advantage of by the Ugandan border official. There was, so I thought, an understanding that I may not be able to get into Kenya and would have to go back through the Uganda station (they are steps apart from each other). But upon returning to the Ugandan station the official, who was a professed “christian”, forced me to pay $35 for nothing to get back in. Instead of giving me a new visa, he just crossed out the exit stamp and “chewed the $35”, as my escort put it. So I am still using the first visa!

I was able to walk away happy for the most part. Now, I’ve been learning the art of arguing East-African style for the sake of justice, being out here in Kenya and Uganda, because everywhere you turn there are people seeking dishonest gain, pilfering, and downright stealing even though they profess to be Christians. I’ve become pretty talented at it as of late.

So I started arguing with the border guard (never do this!) and he became irritated. I sat there as he rose from his comfortable office chair and began to unleash a foolish discourse saying rather absurd things. His speech seemed to be directed at imaginations that didn’t even have anything to do with me or the defense of his robbing me. Part of what set him off was how I alluded to his professed Christianity while taking advantage of my position. It didn’t go so well. Finally, my escort helped to plead my case, I got my stamp, and we left.

So my time in Kenya was brought to an abrupt end. Just like that.

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