Jackson was turned down for a U.S. visa in March despite having the paperwork we thought was needed. He re-applied and Steve King worked hard to send the U.S. Embassy a very strong support letter signed by members of the district Rotary clubs supporting the well/sanitation project. Jackson and I arranged that he would text me immediately after his 6:15 a.m. interview on Thursday at the Embassy. Since Nairobi is seven hours ahead of us, that would be 11:15 Eastern Daylight Time Wednesday night. I finished reading My Maasai Life: From Suburbia to Savannah, by Robin Wiszowaty — a great read about how a young woman with teen angst spends a year in a Maasai village and matures while falling in love with Kenya and the Maasai. I turned out the light after remarking to Carl that Jackson would just be starting his interview and I expected to soon be awakened by my phone telling me I have a text message. I awoke about 1 a.m. and wondered why the phone was eerily quiet and drifted back to sleep. When I awoke about 3 a.m. I checked my e-mail, just in case he had e-mailed instead of texting. Nothing. Now I was worried.
Logically Jackson had been denied a visa yet again and didn’t want to wake me with that news. But my mind was racing with thoughts about the last chapter in the book. In it, Samuel, a very kind and intelligent man, is beaten up several times and money stolen that Robin had loaned him for his start-up business. He doesn’t want to confess the truth to Robin because he fears she will never forgive him and he runs away from her and his family. Could someone have robbed Jackson and beat him up?
I hid under the blanket so the light of the phone wouldn’t awaken Carl and texted Jackson: ”Problem? Y haven’t we heard from u? Luv, mum” Actually, I typed “Luc, mum”—it’s not easy typing underneath a feather duvet.
Within minutes I had Jackson’s reply. “Turned down. No chance to ask interviewer his name, met same person but interviewed by new person. Will write e-mail later. Luv.” At least he was okay! But now my mind was filled with disappointment that he can’t visit after all the preparations Steve King in southern Maryland and I made to welcome him to the U.S. and show him the Maryland/DC area.
After lots of e-mails and texts back and forth, yesterday afternoon Carl and I took correspondence about Jackson’s proposed visit to the Frederick office of our congressman. If anyone knows about why visas to visit the U.S. are routinely turned down and why and what to do, please let me know. More later….