April 2006, Nigeria: The Embassy, Visas, and Pressure

so we spent 2 full days at the american embassy in nigeria trying to get an answer about the next step my dad and i should take in order for him to be able to visit me and our family in the US. my dad was deported from here before i was born. he has since tried to apply for a US visa. he has always been denied because they say there is insufficient evidence that he will return to nigeria after his stay here, even though he has a wife and four children there. my dad thought that my status as an american citizen would impact the amount of respect and help he could get at the embassy. wishful thinking.

one day we waited in a line for an hour, only to be told that we’d have to come back tomorrow and wait in a different line. the next day we went and told that we were an hour early for the line to even start and would have to wait. once that line formed we waited an hour for some decent guesswork advice, but then were told to go take a seat inside to speak with an official. we waited 3 more hours inside and when we finally talked to the “official” he told us that he wasn’t sure and to just go to the website that is posted on the wall outside the building where we waited for the first guesswork answer. it’s real fucked up there and it doesn’t make any sense. a lot of government, politics, social structure just does not seem logic based. probably because they have just not been stable long term in quite some time.

“it was kind of sad to be at the us embassy with my dad. what a place of heartbreak. how many bad memories there? seeing the runaround and silly rules, it was so dumb. but i guess i needed to experience it firsthand to see what it took to make him give up. it really was ridiculous, i could definitely see how it could break your spirit…

“i really, really enjoy these days going around just dad and i. it started to frustrate me earlier knowing how much time we were spending at the embassy. i had to talk myself down from that feeling of being used. it’s weird how that still comes up when all i want in the world is for my dad to be able to come now.”

the “being used” thing is really tough for me, and i’m still dealing with it quite a bit today. basically most people who live in nigeria would rather live anywhere else than in nigeria, and they have a very idealistic, distorted view of the richer countries like the US and UK. not everyone, but it’s prevelant. and like i’ve been trying to say, it’s very hard to get out of nigeria. my dad doesn’t ever want to live here in the US again, just the opportunity to visit. but a couple of my brothers and mommy were very interested and almost pushy to get me to help them come over. and that’s so tough for me. not only can i not financially support someone else at this time (nor do i know if that’s what they’re even really asking me), the pain is still fresh that yeah, i lived in america and you think it’s much more wonderful than it is, but you had dad. and now i feel a lot of pressure to extend an invitation to them to come visit or stay here. everything about that makes me want to run away.

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