As promised, I’ll now tell you the end of the paperwork progress. Keep in mind though... that the process is on-going.
And the story picks up with...
When I discovered that we were missing so many documents and not registered with several important ministry departments, I panicked. This was serious! How had I gotten to this point?
Fortunately, my Christian business friends who understood the system agreed to walk me though the process. They assured me that it would take two weeks at most. It was a matter of stamps, signatures and such. No big thing.
So I told my workers and volunteers that they should take the month off and once we had what we needed, we’d call.
But two weeks turned into two months. Two months turned into four.
I’d bore you to tell you the number of hoops we’ve had to jump through and the number of obstacles we’ve had to scale. The biggest obstacle is a lack of imagination.
What we represent (a non-profit charity clinic) has no precedence in this region (and possibly country). They just cannot figure out what to do with us. Their forms don’t have a box to check and they are unwilling to pencil one in without a stamped signature from every department on file. If they had access to the Mozambican president himself, I’m sure our documents would have gone for his approval too.
Other major obstacles are cultural and linguistic. Let’s face it. My DNA clearly states that I’m of the feminine persuasion. African men struggle to see women as capable and equal --An unfair and possibly over-simplified exaggeration, but one that experience has taught me to be accurate.
It would appear that in Africa, explaining one’s actions to a woman seems counter-intuitive and frankly pushing the envelop too far.
Add to this, the (incredibly frustrating) cultural acceptance of lying and you might begin to understand some of the problems.
In short, the Mozambicans helping me refused to give me updates, explain processes, and bold-faced lied to me so many times I’ve lost count.
They failed to do their work for close to three months because (wait for it!)... I hadn’t proof read their work. Take that in for a minute. Two educated, adult administrative lawyer assistants could not submit the clinic documents because they needed a foreigner (aka: me) who has only been speaking their language for three years to proof read their documents. Does that make sense to any of you?
So once they had basically blamed me for all the delays, their boss got in their face for incompetence... and they finally did their own proof reading. I was told I only needed to show up the next morning for a signature. When I got there to sign it, however, I found so many spelling mistakes that it took another two hours to correct.
What an indictment on the educational system of this nation! How is it possible that I know how to spell better than these men? This must be a joke. A very sad joke.
Let me refocus a bit.
Almost five months have passed and I’m still waiting. I’m millimeters from completing this race and I’m no longer tired. God has given me an adrenaline push. I’m running rested. They keep moving the finish line but I don’t care. God has lifted me up on eagle’s wings. I’m running and I’m not weary.
Oh sure... I’m irritated at times but I’m not weary. This is the Lord’s doing and it is good. Very good.
I don’t know if we’ll actually get the papers back from Maputo. I’m actually passed the point of caring. If I can only accomplish a work here through corruption, then I will not stay. I’ll move on. Period.
I don’t know if the clinic will pass the last ministry of health inspection. If we do, excellent. If not, the Lord be magnified. This time will not have been wasted. He has done good things in me and shown me great and mighty things. The Lord be praised!
My prayer is that we will succeed. I know the Lord can do it. If it is His will, then let Him show Himself mighty on our behalf. I have done all that I can. I can do nothing more but wait and pray.
So I pray. And I wait.
If these lawyers are to be believed, they have approximately two weeks more of paperwork to file. Detail stuff mainly. And the last ministry of health inspection is due sometime this week. If we pass it, we have all we need to open again in November.
Please pray for God’s will to be done.