Friday, December 8, 2006

The Next Four Months - Part 1

The next four months are still painful to talk about. And I'm not sure how to talk about it ...

I came back here and Nanda had yet to receive a 2 year extension to her 6 month visa. I couldn't apply for a 2 year visa for Jaime until she had the extension – I've explained all this in the previous post on Immigration.

Nanda's extension came through about the end of July and I immediately applied for Jaime's visa. But it took time ...

In the mean time, Nanda beat up on me constantly – as M. said she would!

The first crisis had happened before I came back – H. had been carrying Jaime on his bicycle and Jaime had caught his flip-flop in the back wheel and over they came! Jaime needed two stitches to his forehead (the very small scar is there 'til today and, yes, I know, carrying a second person like this is dangerous but I live here in Africa ... three/four people on a motorcycle is common!). Nanda and I only learned about this after I came back ... and she didn't learn through me!

The second crisis was that first photo I took of Jaime which I related earlier.

At first Nanda wanted Jaime to spend the weekends at his uncle's (her brother A.). After three weekends he didn't want to. He played lots with our neighbours' kids and considered them his community. There aren't many neighbours' kids around where A. lives, so he was obliged to play all day with his two years younger cousin. I also didn't want him to – especially when I gathered his natural father (several previous and current partners with numerous children – fortunately, his name is not on the birth certificate) had visited him there. As he's never shown any real interest in Jaime, both Nanda and I feel he should keep away. And I didn't want him to know anything at all about our future plans – to turn up at the airport on the day of departure and make problems!

The next event was Jaime's birthday on the 30th July – 7 years old! We had a small party with a cake, food etc. Sang “Happy Birthday” and blew the candles out.

Photos were, of course, sent to Nanda and Kezia, and this time I got no complaints!

In the meantime Jaime moved into my bedroom, started school again and we settled into a steady rhythm. We'd get up, get washed, H. would arrive and prepare his breakfast, I would go to work, Jaime would have lunch and then go to school, I'd return from work, H. would go home, I would prepare Jaime's bath, he'd come home at 17:20, take his bath, eat dinner whilst I had a shower, watch children's TV until 19:00 and then it was bed and my TV.

I enjoyed the rhythm, the discipline of childcare – it did me good, gave me responsibility and made me (somewhat?) responsible.

I would phone Nanda or she would phone me ... and she'd harangue me constantly “where's Jaime, how's Jaime, when's Jaime coming ...?”. I couldn't run any faster than the seemingly slow bureaucracy of the IND. I would ask about Kezia and receive the response “where's Jaime, how's Jaime, when's Jaime coming ...?”.

I know it was hell for Nanda – she was having to cope with a strange country, a language she didn't speak, the hospital etc etc.

To be continued.

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