You may have been wondering why Jaime hasnn't figured much in this so far ...
First, Jaime didn't come with us back in May. I'd booked a ticket for a week, Nanda and Kezia for a month. Little did we know ... We employ a really trustworthy guy (H.) to look after the land (smallholding-size: 60 m x 60 m) around our home and we asked him and his family (wife K. and small daughter J.) to come up and live here, look after Jaime and the house. They did an admirable job! Thanks! As they live with Mum, brother (+ ...), sister (+ ...) in a very small wooden house it's a bit of a holiday for them (although living on my own now concerns everyone – it's a far more “social” society than the UK).
Then, when we discovered it was leukaemia and the length of treatment (c. 2 years for girls, c. 3 years for boys), we had to apply for Nanda to stay longer than the initial six months granted at Heathrow.
Getting a passport for Kezia was not a great problem. Although I am Kezia's registered father, Kezia cannot receive my nationality if I am not legally married to the foreign mother – Margaret Thatcher's bloody 1981 nationality legislation! (If it was the other way round – UK mother, foreign father – no problem). Having discovered this early 2006, we got married on February 4 2006. (As you can gather formal marriage is rather against my personal philosophy!) Fortunately, the 1981 Nationality Act is “retrospective” so even though we married after Kezia was born, she still receives UK nationality through her dad. Now Kezia is the proud owner of British Citizenship and a UK passport! Not that she really cares right now.
Nanda was more complicated ...
The Embassy and the Passport Office had signed off on Kezia being a British Citizen. The Embassy had signed off that Nanda is my wife. However, to extend Nanda beyond 6 months, we needed: translated documents, birth and marriage certificates, bank statements (here and there), statements of income and contract length from my employer, proof of will return to country-of-origin (letter from my employer), letters from our consultant J. and social worker T. etc etc. Took a time but we got it.
On to Jaime ...
The embassy can only grant 6 month visitor's visas. Obviously, we wanted Jaime to get the same as Nanda. So first we had to wait until Nanda's 2 years came through. Then we had to send Jaime's passport and all the same documentation cited above to the embassy (in Angola as you will recall) who then had to send it all to the Immigration and Nationality Directorate in the UK. First difficulty was getting it all to Angola – DHL costs an arm and a leg if you don't have a contract with them. I rang my friend B. who works at the top hotel here to see if they had a DHL contract – no, but hang on a minute. An aunty of an employee, an Angolan judge, was staying at the hotel and returning to Angola tomorrow. I raced down to the hotel and she hand-carried everything to the embassy – I can't remember your name but many thanks!
The return leg was facilitated by JG, our hon British consul and a local businessman, who happened to visit Angola just as the visa came through.
I picked up Jaime's passport on 29 October and we were on the plane to the UK on 5 November!
Took a while and Nanda really didn't understand why it was taking so long when for her and Kezia it only took three days!
Again many thanks to L. at our local travel agency.
And many many thanks to the UK embassy in Angola who have been absolutely amazing throughout this ordeal.
You may wonder why I'm the only member of the family posting – well, Nanda and Jaime don't speak English (yet!) and Kezia's a bit too young to have mastered either the lingiustic or computer skills. If this blog survives, hopefully you will see entries from them in the future.
This weekend I'll try and get some medical info. written. Still can't upload photos. See you on Monday.