So far this year things are not going to plan. The worst case scenario is that the previous tenants remain as squatters in my health centre not that it matters as we will get deported. Well I am sure things will not turn out quite that badly!!
We were meant to get the buildings for the health centre on Monday. However when we went last week to see the landlord about getting the tenancy agreement the current tenants told us they have not been given enough notice and need more time to find a new place to live. As we are a charity and kind of feel bad about chucking people out of their homes. However we agreed the take the property over back in November giving then tenants two months notice, they claim to have only had a couple weeks. So they have two more weeks then they need to be out as I am running a seminar in there then.
Our six month visas expire soon so we went to the immigration police to renew them (we were told this is the correct procedure). However it turns out they can only extend three month visas. The suggestion was to get a residents permit, these cost approx £250 each although as volunteers we are eligible for free permits. Cool we thought we will do that so we collected all the paperwork and went to see the police to get it approved. The police man we saw was a real jobsworth and told us we did not have the correct forms. That out non-government organisation need an agreement with the government to take volunteers. However the person who actually issues the permits (once and only once they have the police stamp) says this is not true. So if the police will not stamp it we can not go any further. We have a week and half to sort something out or we will become illegal immigrants and may get deported or put in prison.
Genesis has a friend in the police who we hope will sort it out for us. Remember it is all about who you know in Cameroon and what favors they can do for you. If this fails the next step is a trip to the capital Yaounde to see some high up person in the police who is able to extend our visa's or we pay £500 for new visas. Or we could do the really bright suggestion made by the guy at the police, fly to London get new visa's and fly back - because that will cost less than the £500 permit!
Well we just hope and pray it will sort itself out in the end. These things usually do, if not you may be seeing us a whole lot sooner than you expected!!