Monthly Archives: September 2014

Driving License Nightmare..

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Photo courtesy of blog.houstonpress.com

I finally have my driving permit in hand..not my license. I drove yesterday for the first time since I got here. Not too bad actually but intersections are a bit tricky but should get used to it soon.

It’s been a nightmare of sort trying to make it to the Texas Department of Public Safety, the equivalent of DMV here. Yesterday was my 4th attempt. I’d been there three times previously and for some reason everytime, I was time barred.

It’s a quite a process. On my 2nd visit, I paid $25, had my picture taken and told to try and be there 30 minutes before they close. Quite a tall order considering my host works 8-5 and the office closes at 6. Traffic sucks in the evenings. It’s about 20 minutes away from where I live.

Yesterday I barely made it. The written exam is a multiple choice taken on a touch computer. 30 questions of which you must get 21 to get a pass. I got 26. Had my driver’s permit printed and was out in 30 minutes. I’ll be back when I’m ready to take the driving test.

My pal gave me the keys immediately we got out of DPS. To say I was nervous is an understatement. Once I was behind the wheel it went ok. Keeping to the speed limits is a challenge. They keep changing and cops come of nowhere. Will practice for some time then go take the driving exam in a few.

Things are moving along a day at a time..

Paperwork is here

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I have all my paperwork in place now..It was quite a surprise actually. I had been on the phone with USCIS the whole week following up on the progress of my package. I had corrected my address and they said once my package is received by them, they’d resend it to the correct address. This would take a minimum of 2 weeks.

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I checked the USCIS website on September 11 and it indicated my package had been returned to the originating facility. They provided the same US Postal Service tracking number from before in the same update. When I checked the USPS tracker thing, surprise surprise..“Your item was delivered at 5.00pm on September 11 2014 in Houston, TX, *****” Huh, that was confusing. USCIS indicated they had the package but USPS indicated they had delivered it. I checked the mail box and voila..It was there.

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I’m glad that ended well and I didn’t have to wait for 2 weeks. Lesson learn’t: Double check your full address as you come in at CBP (Customs & Border Protection), it can mess up you life here.

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I don’t have a license or a job yet..but everything is looking up. Patience..patience.Grateful to the Most High for bringing me this far..Asante. Blessings.

Conakry, Guinea and Bamako, Mali

There is nothing much happening for me this week. Lots of TV and calls to USCIS. 2 weeks wait time before something happens. Will see. This a throw back of one of my work trips. Will be doing those from time to time. This one took me from Nairobi to Bamako, Mali, a 6hr 50min flight. I checked out Bamako for about an hour, came back to Senou airport and connected on Air Mali to Conakry, Guinea an hour away..Currently Mali is having issues with Islamists fighting the government in the north and Guinea is having Ebola crisis, so many people have died there. I have only good memories of both countries. I fell in love with ‘Aloco’ aka fried plantain there. It’s so cute to see women all dolled up riding these motorcycles. Connected through Abdijan on Senegal Airlines (Only airline that I’ve been served boiled beef and mashed potatoes), Abidjan back to Bamako on Air Mali (Very beautiful point five Tuareg flight attendants), spent more time in Bamako as KQ had cancelled their flight and headed back to Nairobi on the Dakar Nairobi flight that stops in Bamako. Below are pictures of both countries.

Bamako, Mali

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Conakry, Guinea

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Monsoon rain in Conakry were very scary during landing and take off, like hitting a wall repeatedly. Flying into them is nothing like I had ever experienced. I totally understand how the Kenya Airways flight out of Douala went down in those conditions. Another thing about Conakry was the airport was so close to the city that there was a lady frying plantain inside the airport perimeter..see below.

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Loong wait ahead..

I’m disappointed with myself this week..a bit low. I was expecting my paperwork mid last week but guess what. I gave the wrong ZIP code (those 5 post office digits) when i came through at the airport, a few digits off. This delays everything..driving, getting a job. I’ve been here 6 weeks now..on chill mode. I can’t wait to get on with life. So the USCIS (Immigration) gave me a USPS (US Postal Service) tracking number. I was excited and it took 2 days to get here and then..SHOCK. Your item was returned to the sender on August 26, 2014 at 10:08 am in HOUSTON, TX ***** because the addressee moved and left no forwarding address. WOW..now the process of following up on this package has been hectic to say the least.

I called the sorting post office, they said they were going to forward it to the correct post office. I checked a day later and they didn’t have it. I called USCIS to correct my address. My, my..they had a waiting time of 63 minutes..haha!! 63 minutes..Luckily they give you the option of a call back. In short i have to wait for 10 days. hopefully USPS will have shipped back my papers to USCIS who’ll then ship them back to the correct address..sigh.so frustrating i tell you. All i can do now is wait, wait and keep myself busy exercising to avoid my worst fear..weight gain.

Will see how that goes. hopefully it ends well.