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Hilarious encounter at the US Embassy By Emeka Oparah


You know how it is when you have a visa appointment at the United States Embassy, especially the Lagos Consular office. Nothing, repeat nothing can make it less mirthless, with the humiliation that goes on there from the condescending queueing method to the insolent Nigerian staff and security guards. Unlike what obtains at the less disrespectful Abuja office, the Lagos office experience is a parody of the beautiful stories one hears every so often about Americans and their America.  Thankfully, with the introduction of the Drop Box System, some of us no longer have to queue and face the indignity, the anxiety and the heat. However, the experience I am about to recount, which happened over 15 years ago, still gets me ROTL (Rolling On The Floor)! 

Let me just say having observed all other protocols, I found myself on the final queue waiting for the Visa Officer to call me. When I took my seat based on the time of arrival, I noticed a gentleman (at least he looked like one at that time), who, by my own estimation, was overdressed. He had a huge bundle of documents that could comfortably cater for the requirements of at least 300 via applicants. I noticed he was also very loquacious in spite of the deliberately calm ambience. He was either talking to himself or talking to other applicants, some of whom were busy dealing with the anxiety usually associated with waiting to be called. 

There were four visa officers attending to people. Some spent less than five minutes; others spent over 15 minutes. Regardless of the duration of their interview, people were either being issued with visas or bounced. Now, each time someone got a visa, the over-dressed dude, would smile and say: Just negodu onyea! If they gave him, why won’t they give me?” When someone was bounced, he would go: “Chai! God must not allow me to be called by this huge witch in the 3rd cubicle. She is refusing everyone that came to her visa. Ekwensu!”  

Then, he points to the figurine of human skeleton hanging in the lady’s cubicle. See, it was apparently Halloween and some of these oyinbo people can be fetish about those events. Mr. Valentine (that’s what his name turned out to be) said the woman was a witch. He was telling one obviously worried young man that the woman was into witchcraft-with that skeleton dangling in her face. Meanwhile, the young man looked too anxious and too stressed to bother. Sadly, he was denied visa, and he soon went away without a word to his garrulous seat-mate.

Let me describe Mr. Valentine a little bit so you get a mental picture of whom I’m talking about. He’s probably in his mid-50s. Of average height, and spots a protuberance that could shame a seven-month pregnant woman. He wore a black velvet suit with it-was-white dinner shirt and a massive black tie. His ox-blood belt was clashing aggressively with his black shoes, which was so long it pointed to high heavens. He looked like a magician or a jester or both. I couldn’t help laughing when I first set my eyes on him. Even though they didn’t encourage noise-making in that section of the building, this pally kept everyone engaged and laughing. He was hilarious. And, curiously, he was perspiring massively even in the controlled climate.

Since Valentine was so hilarious, I made a point on eavesdrop on his conversations. Again, I heard him tell someone that it was his 12th time of applying for the “facking” US visa, 11 of which were most certainly unsuccessful. He bragged to everyone that cared to listen that he once sued the Consulate for denying visa.  “And you’re here again”, someone asked him. “Yes, of course!” he bellowed. So they guy wanted to know why he was turned down the last time, and he said the “foolish woman, that witch there, said I didn’t know where I was going in the United States.”  And truly, he didn’t know where he was going, he confessed. “Why should they ask me that kind of question? What’s their own? Must they know where I’m going? My brother I asked them whether I didn’t have the right to go anywhere I wanted to go in the US?” he said. It was at that point he heard his name, and it was the “witch” that called! 

“Chai, so, it’s this woman!” Mr. Valentine lamented under his breathe. He hurried down to the cubicle and made to submit the huge bunch of documents to the lady. She declined.  As she started asking him questions, in rapid order, I was called for my own interview and I took my attention momentarily off Mr. Valentine. In less than five minutes, I overheard him cursing in Igbo, calling the “witch” all sorts of names-which thankfully the woman didn’t understand because they were actually very unprintable.

Valentine had lost it. He was irate. From nowhere four security men appeared and were all over Valentine. They took him away, while he raised hell there. I can still picture Valentine looking furtively back and yelling at the “witch” for bouncing him-for the nth, nay 12th, time. Everyone had a good laugh. 

Must people really go to the United States? SMFH. 
Hilarious encounter at the US Embassy By Emeka Oparah Hilarious encounter at the US Embassy By Emeka Oparah Reviewed by Emeka Oparah on Thursday, April 07, 2016 Rating: 5

6 comments

  1. Val must 'go to a WAEC' like an pal who got F9 in English.

    Just remind him that as much as women dressing can cause "sexual harassment" his attire could also constitute "social nuisance"

    ReplyDelete
  2. Val must 'go to a WAEC' like an pal who got F9 in English.

    Just remind him that as much as women dressing can cause "sexual harassment" his attire could also constitute "social nuisance"

    ReplyDelete

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