Our time in Nairobi has been spent learning Swahili and continuing to wait on the issuing of our residency permits. In September we had received news that our work permits had been issued in August and that we were now waiting on our residency permits. We had been told that these would not take long to come through, possibly a couple of weeks only. We had hoped to receive them in time that we may be able to go to the Tanzanian conference which was due to commence on the 12th of October.
It was not looking hopeful when late in the afternoon on the 10th we received the news that we had been sent copies of our receipts for our applications for residency and that this may be sufficient to get us across the border. The Andersens were coming through Nairobi the following morning and were going to collect either our extra luggage or both our luggage and ourselves. Well it was to be us and our luggage as we decided to try and cross the border with the paperwork that we had.
It was wonderful to finally meet the Andersens in person! There was now a Tabora Team! We piled our belongings and ourselves into their car and off we headed. We reached the border at around 1pm and commenced proceedings. We were part way through the process when we were informed that we didn’t have the correct papers! We didn’t have receipts for payment for residency applications we only had documents that verified that we had applied for residency permits! At this point it looked like we would be getting a bus back to Nairobi but Andy and Margaret spoke to the officials in Swahili and learned that we had to get a visitors visa to allow us into the country and this we could do there at the border! Praise God for that! Praise God for leaders that are fluent in the language!
We now needed to see if we could book flights to Dar Es-Salaam. We had to wait patiently until we drove into an area that had phone coverage so that we could contact the airline and make a provisional booking. The office was due to close at 5pm and we thought we would make it to the outskirts of Arusha by 4:30pm provided we didn’t have any delays with police, road works… We made it to the office by about 4:45pm only to find that they could not accept payment for the tickets by card which meant we had to find an ATM which would accept our cards! God was definitely with us as with nine minutes before closing time we found an ATM in the next building and with the help of our team mates were able to withdraw sufficient money to cover the cost of the tickets. We were going to conference! Halleluya!