What started as an awareness raising and ethnographic styled walk through Sierra Leone, this site now details the encounters of a not so academic academic who spends more time occupying Wall Street and squats than a university...

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Sierra Leonean Embassy

Very unhelpful I must say upon first effort.  I have done a little bit of research on the whole visa scenario in Sierra Leone and had this little hiccup with the whole 'fixed' itinerary thing.  I am certainly not looking at this little scenario with a whole lot of time deadlines or specifics; 2, 3, 4, x months, who cares.  I mean realistically I'm thinking three months, but they want purchased plane tickets, finite ins and outs, etc.  I am trying to be more flexible.  The whole point of the journey is to expereince things as they exist, as they come about, and under whatever time frame they take - do what must be done to gain further understanding of the country and how, if at all, I/we can be of assistance.  This flexibility is however, well, indeterminable.  lol.

I called the embassy and the person I spoke to really had little clue.  They only thing they knew was that I had to have an invitation to visit and thought I was an idiot because: "you can't go anywhere in the world without one, every country in requires this!"  Oh, wait except most of the ones I've been to, lol.  I needed one in Russia and China, that's it.  The rest of europe (not just EU), nothing. 

Anyway, the guy couldn't provide much help and I am looking at this project in very specific humanitarian/business terms.  I am trying to bring direct foreign aid to the country.  Now granted perhaps some people there don't want this.  I truely respect this vantage point.  But most all of them want money to flow in, they want investment.  I would think they would do what they could to promote this, or at least accept it.  Now I know this is naive, as it is written time and time again of the obstacles to doing business in some areas of the world.  But no matter, I has hoping, thinking that if I said "this is what I am trying to do... walking through the country... for charity... to raise awareness..."  Hmm...  I mean granted, he was probably just a young guy simply excited about being posted in NYC and looking at his job as some extra anoyance he had to do... but again, I had hope.

After it all, there wasn't much of anything to come from it.  I thought they'd be able to work with me with any visa rigidities over the length of stay.  I figured if they knew why I was going they would be more helpful or flexible...  well, we'll see.  He said, "Call when you are closer to leaveing and speak to my boss" in a dismissive, "I give up on this call" tone of voice.  lol.  I probably needed to speak more to a chamber of comerce type than a consular official.  Add it to the list.  Anyway, no worries, time I have... 

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