May 31, 2010
The purpose of this trip to Dakar was to go to Yusupha's immigration interview with him. The whole heart of the trip was to be with him, with my husband from whom I have been separated by US immigration since July 2009. We hoped to do our business in Dakar and then go to the Gambia and even to Allunhari to see the rest of the family, who I have not seen since 2005. Yusupha hoped, believed that he would be granted the visa at the interview. I knew from talking to our lawyer that that was unlikely because of the deportation and the need for waivers of the grounds of inadmissibility that obtain in spite of our 8 year marriage.
Since the interview came up on such short notice, I was unable to get a Gambian visa before coming. So on our first day in Dakar we went to the Gambian Embassy and I got that visa. I'm pretty sick of bureaucrats of all nationalities and their language and their red tape. But the encounter at the Gambian Embassy was almost funny. Behind the glass was a surly French-speaking woman who mumbled. I filled out the form and when I returned it to her, through the slot in the glass, she would not extend her hand to grasp it forcing me to push it further toward her. Nor was there any other trace of courtesy or recognition. It's one of the things that Yusupha gives me: The calm not to react, or if I react (as invariably I do) not to retaliate, as in: You dumb bitch, didn't anyone ever tell you about customer service...
Our interview was the next day and it went as it had been described to me by our paralegal. The officer said that based on the marriage, which she did not doubt, she would grant the visa. But, she said, "the way the process works..." Moreover, we would need to refile and repay (another grand) for the two documents. It was a blow to Yusupha and although I expected this outcome it hurts to be unable to protect him, to watch him suffer.
He is my love, the partner of my life.