In preparation for my next group of women entrepreneurs, the task from hell has been to secure their visas from Afghanistan to the States. I am incredibly frustrated with the ambiguity of the process.
You can be denied or put on hold arbitrarily - with no explanation, for no reason. We fixed paperwork, and re-fixed paperwork based upon the Embassy's demands -- each time with different instructions, sometimes contradicting themselves!
While I was in Kabul, I had the immense honor to meet N. (name abbreviated for security/privacy reasons). She is a young woman with two amazing parents that support her as an entrepreneur... a business woman. This is rare.
She invited us to her studio where she and her employees hand craft their detailed art for market. She is a kind leader, a bit unsure of herself, but so passionate about her business ideas, her clientele (which included the President of Afghanistan!), her future, and her desire for education. Her father absolutely radiated pride as he spoke of her talent, her leadership, her potential.
Her visa has been denied. Put on hold. Denied. Then put on hold again. She was coming, then wasn't, then was, then might be coming.
I can't imagine the emotional tug of war and frustration this must cause her.... I know it does me!
I am so grateful for the United States. For our laws, rules, and ethics. Our systems, however flawed, have processes that can be almost always counted on. We know that if we follow the process, however complicated, we will not be turned down for a visa because the officer in charge is having a bad day.
Fingers and toes crossed that N. will receive her visa in time. Of anyone who should be allowed into the States for a business training course, it is her!!!
For those people who whine and complain about our government, our daily lives, our freedoms being trampled on.... to those people, I wish you could meet N. I wish you could understand how much opportunity and freedom we really do have.