THEOLOGICAL REFLECTIONS AT THE PASSPORT OFFICE

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The applicants, myself included, were first treated to a long and boring lecture of the guidelines and processes involved in either renewing or acquiring a new passport. As if to entertain us, the official from the Passport office who gave us this lecture interlaced it with jokes which were unrelated to any of the processes. I clearly remembered him telling us of how some people have been fortunate to meet their spouses at awkward places such as the Passport office and even public toilets. At least, that joke got many people laughing and responding to his jeers. But that lecture lasted close to an hour.

Then the vetting officials set up tables close to the shed where we were waiting to vet our forms and its accompanying documents. This was the first of all the processes we were going through. In turns, we were called up to submit our forms for vetting according to the numbers assigned to us at the gate. I was number 82. I sat for over an hour and a half waiting for my turn.

In the course of waiting, I took the opportunity to engage two gentlemen in a hearty discussion on matters bothering on the frustration involved in the entire process. It would be interesting to note that one of the guys was the one who was asked to go and shave off his goatee before proceeding to submit his forms. Now he was looking all nice and closely shaved. I jokingly teased him and we laughed it off. By God’s Grace, I took the opportunity to make a strong point for God’s free gift of Salvation through Jesus Christ.

This came after one of them remarked that he can’t imagine how life will be when we get to the era where we can only gain access to basic necessities in life after accepting the mark of the beast, 666. After the long wait, you could see that many were hungry. By that time, I had taken porridge and bread that I bought outside for breakfast. Thus, I was strong enough to bear the brunt of their bureaucracy.

Many like me had to wake very early to secure a place in a queue. Since the daily intake limit of the Passport Office was between 80-100, (a figure mentioned to me by one of the officials), it was very necessary for one to get to the premises of the Passport Office at about 4:30 AM. Failing to reach there before 6:00 AM meant that you would miss the opportunity to be part of this favoured few.

When I reached the Passport Office at 5:46 AM that morning, as expected, there was already a long queue formed from the main gate. A man whom, I perceive had created a job for himself by coming early to secure an early bird spot in the queue and later sell to people who were unable to arrive early, approached me with the offer to sell me his spot in front of the queue. I humbly rejected his offer without asking him how much it would have to cost me. In my mind, I was wondering whether it would amount to corruption if I accepted his offer.

On the other hand, I was confident that my spot in the queue was safe enough. After a long wait, sitting on the hard metallic chair, it was my turn to move in with a batch to a hall on the compound where our passport photos were to be taken. I was disappointed to go and meet many of those who had gone ahead of me in earlier batches still waiting in the crowded hall.

I had to stand for a while waiting for an opportunity to sit when somebody was called. By that time, it was 11:59 AM. I had already called a colleague in the office to inform her that I would be late because I was at the Passport Office- Emmanuel Parbey

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