My passport is expiring soon, so I get to look forward to a visit to Makombe Complex in the near future. Great! Going there always proves to be an unforgettable experience, don’t you find? The thought of it arouses the same feelings as one would get when scheduling a dentist’s appointment – except you can anticipate more pain.
I admit that I could be more positive about the whole idea given that it also holds the promise of remarkable things. For instance, I’ll be met by hundreds and hundreds of people, all welcoming me to the unbelievable day that lies ahead. And this well before I’ve even entered the complex. It’s good to have Zimbabwean people from every corner of the country coming together for one cause.
The R.G.’s office also boasts staff of note. I’ve often wondered how so many people, with the same disposition, came to be employed and work in the same place. These folk are really keen to get the job done such that they don’t even have time to smile or to use time-wasting words like ‘please’ and ‘thank you’. The staff members are also excellent listeners, waiting for you to recount your entire story before passing you on to another colleague so that you can retell it once again … from the beginning.
Every circus must be kept running by its operational procedures. Makombe has its share, complete with coded forms to be filled in black ink only and innumerable rules such as, ‘bribing officials is strictly prohibited’. Part of the process involves an extensive tour of the complex as one is referred from officer to officer, and moved from room 213 to window 24 (logically). The efficiency of these systems is clear from the backlog figures consistently reported.
Thus, in my new frame of mind, I’m prepared to be overwhelmed by every smell and I submit myself to learn a thorough lesson in patience. I look forward to sharpening my skills in deciphering ambiguous instructions and navigating difficult situations. And when it is all over, I’ll take comfort in the knowledge that this visit will not be the last. The unique experience will be repeated many more times in my life – to rectify errors, to check if the document is ready, should I lose the document, when I get married, when I have a child, when that child needs an ID and passport, and then I’ll have another child …