America Nkomo (Bounced Visa) – By Qouphy Appiah Obirikorang

< Dedicated to all my folks who have had a bad day at the US Embassy >

It’s a long, tedious journey as I meander my way through this human traffic just to get my destination for the great opportunity that awaits me. It has been a long journey here. After enduring sleepless nights, hustling to pay for visa fee and appointment date, its 7:30 A.M and I sit at the interviewees section at the US Embassy awaiting my chance for a visa to travel to the land of “opportunity”.

Absurd it was to finally get a comfortable seat having sat on stones from dawn in front of the American Embassy. Morning only dawned for motorist using the route to see our sympathetic faces most standing with others stooping like we were waiting for a ticket pass to heaven.

Seated next to me is a Catholic priest in all-white cassock with a rosary and his passport wedged between a familiar chapter in the Holy Book. Osofo koraa (also) make wild! from his actions and body language, he should have worn a T-shirt with a screaming logo “My God, do not forsake me” inscribed on it.

Its 7:55 A.M and suddenly, I hear my name being called through the PA system signalling me to come to the Consular section to be interviewed. I make a sign of the cross, straighten my starch-reinforced political suit, wipe the dust of my “Santiago” Italian cow-leather shoe and approach the consular section.

I can see the consular is of a mixed race, she looks partly American and partly Chinese. Today, I will bedazzle this woman, I muttered under my breath. I take a seat with my folder across my lap. It contains all valid document you can find in Ghana; Birth Certificate, Marriage Certificate, Drivers License, Land Title Deeds Registration, National Service Certificate, Standard Seven Leaving Certificate, ECG Bills, Receipt from Melcom etc.

Consular Lin: Name, age and location

Me: Kwame Pare alias Last Burger a.k.a Chinchila Man. I am 32 years and reside at Tafo Mpamprom near Adui Nkwanta off the Offinso-Techiman Road.

Consular: Occupation?

Me: Jack of all trade. Gas welder, artisan, communication/business centre operator and a professional footballer. I am the leading goal scorer for Tafo XI FC. You can get more information about me from the current GFA President.

Consular: How long do you plan to stay in the USA?

Me: Oh, 3 months p3 (only three months) I just want a change of environment

Consular: Where will you be staying?

Me: Hse. No. 44F, Queensroad Avenue, Bronx, NY

Consular: Who will you be staying with?

Me: My small brada, he’s my wofasi.(Nephew)

Consular: any previous traveling experience?

Me: Oh yes! I have been to Axim, Mankessim, Teacher Mante, Ofuasi and a whole lot of locations that are not on the map of Ghana.

Consular: I mean external. Have you travelled outside of your home country?

Me: Travelled small small. I was in China to buy phones to sell.

Consular: Marital status

Me: Single with a whole lot of connections. The ladies call me Bra Kwame.

Consular: Purpose of visit? Business or pleasure?

Me: Oh, small business, small agoro. I want to meet with Obama to discuss poverty alleviation strategy and also go to Disneyland to have some fun.

Consular: Can I look at your documents? Can you put all of them in the metallic tray?

Me: Yes, these are the best documents you can ever find in Ghana. Look at the last document, it has Otumfour’s signature and thumbprint all combined.

Consular: It shows here on your letter on sponsorship that you sponsor is your uncle, right?

Me: 3y3 nukwr3 trodooo (undiluted truth)

Consular: Huh?

Me: Sorry I mean it’s very true

Consular: His bank statement shows that it’s a rural bank, is that correct?

Me: Yes, it’s from Akyem Kokofu Rural Bank. My uncle is the life patron there.

Consular: I see you have lots of documents here, I thought you were single, how come you have a marriage certificate?

Me: Oh, that one is from my former marriage. You can choose to ignore it.

Consular: Are you positive you will come back to your home country after your visit to USA?

Me: Oh aden?, why not? I have a football match in 4 months time.

Consular: Do you have any family ties in the States?

Me: Plenty, my akonta (in-law) is in Las Vegas, my sister in law is a cleaner at Washington DC, my step mother is at the State Correctional Facility in New York.

Consular: What crime did your step mother commit?

Me: She was arrested for exporting yam. That’s all I can say.

Consular: Do you have strong financial ties?

Me: Wosi di3n?? Sorry I beg your paldon, what did you say?

Consular: Do you have enough funds to cover your stay overseas?

Me: Aaah consular paaa! Money is not my problem

Consular: Mr. Kwame Pare, based on your documents and the interview, I regret to tell you that I cannot grant you the visa you requested. You should know your current status will likely not change within the next 6 months so I entreat you not to put in another visa application during the period I stated earlier. I wish you a better luck next time.

Me: Ei awurade!!! Aden??(OMG! Why?) What!! Boni ben na may3??(Where did I go wrong?) Agyeeei mawu ooh!!! (Oh God, am dead) Madam consular, wo si s3n (what are you driving at) wo yari anaaa??(Are you sick or something?) Ana w3ni su brim wo??(Or you are feeling dizzy) Nkwasiasem b3n na woni me erika no?(What nonsense are you telling me?) I have provided all the requested documents and paid the required fee, sat through this interview with you and answered your questions honestly. Aden, wa bodam anaaaa?(What! You should be crazy?)

Give me my passport and documents; let me see you at Osu trying to buy Chinese fried rice and you will see what I will do to you. Yarifour!!(Imbecile)

Consular: Security!!!!!!