“The envelope… yes. In which all your certificates were kept since childhood. Did you take it?” asked maama in a WhatsApp voice message. “What shall we do?” The visa appointment with the embassy was drawing nigh and we had not gathered all the required documents despite having started nine months ago.
It is the first time in my entire life that I ever needed this document.
Several years ago, maama, foreseeing as she was, had insisted on keeping all the important certificates with her. Kept and protected safely the way she still keeps our umbilical cords. One time she even suggested to keep both our passports! I and my elder sister Hilda had anyways gathered everything and handed except for our travel documents.
She kept the envelope under her head rest. Right under her pillow, under her mattress. What I found more amusing though was her motivation. (…). Keeping the papers in one central place was sound, but the second reason. She was convinced that estranged lovers do despicable things to ex-lovers. (…).
16th May 2019: I cannot avoid maama’s constant reminders to try and remember where I had kept the envelope.
“I think I left it at Genza’s house.” I reassured maama but at the same time regretted why I ever moved the damn envelope from her place, her head rest! It was long since I last prayed so I did, and hoped that my ex-partner is not what I thought he was not.
Maama is to attend a visa interview on 24th May 2019. We were planning her visit around the time of my graduation. It has been two years since I last saw her. We are all optimistic. Maybe not all. I am sceptic, I have had my own share of visa disappointments. I fear she is thrilled. I cannot help to think that it would break her heart if the visa would be denied. The joy of her anticipation is slowly wearing off as we bury ourselves into paperwork in preparation for the meeting. One of the required documents might not be found on time for the meeting. My birth certificate. The one thing from the requirement list for a short-term visitor’s visa.(…)
PLAN B: Nasser Road
14th May. I am in sort of a panic. Maybe not. I just have to think. Very first.
I text a former classmate in Kampala called Rwamukwaya. He works at the popular stationary street called Nasser Road. In this place people can efficiently beat all odds with the Ugandan system and many other paper fenced territories.
Rwam’s answer to the question of whether it is possible was: “Let me find out the cost and I let you know.” The morning of 16th May, he reverts with an answer: “The Birth Certificate will cost 60K.” 14.24 Euros it would be. And I would have it in one day. And so it was.