As part of the process of putting together a dossier, at least for Haiti 10 years ago, you had to have a lot of documents notarized and then “legitimized” by the state government (in other words, verify that the Notary who notarized the papers was indeed a notary. Then they had to be “accepted” by the Haitian embassy before they could be sent to Haiti.
We didn’t like the idea of sending the documents to the Haitian embassy and waiting for them, so decided that we’d take a day off and drive them down there. We set up an appointment for 11:30 at the Haitian Embassy in Chicago (about a 3 hour drive for us).
At about 8:00 PM the night before, I was reviewing the paperwork one more time to make sure we had everything and realized, to my dismay, that we missed getting one of the documents stamped by the State of Michigan (about an hour away from us in the opposite direction).
We found out that the State of Michigan office opened at 8:00. So we got the grandparents over, left at 6:30 in the morning and were waiting outside the office when they opened at 8:00. In and out in 15 minutes.
And then the mad dash from Lansing Michigan to Chicago. We were careful to not violate speed limits too much (a traffic stop would definitely make us late) and let’s say there was no time for “pit stops” for food or anything like that.
It looked like we were going to make it. And suddenly the red lights started coming on. Brake lights and more brake lights……
The traffic came to a screeching halt. But it’s right over there! We were on the expressway and could literally see the building that the Haitian embassy was in. But we couldn’t get to it.
At 11:25, we called the Embassy and told them what was happening and that we could see the Embassy but were stuck in traffic due to an accident. They assured us that it was “no problem.”
At 11:45, we got to the Embassy, walked in the door, only to be told that the person we needed had “just left for lunch.” We said, “No problem, we’ll get some lunch and be back around 1?” We were told to give it until 1:30.
So, we got some lunch and then came back at 1:30. And we waited and we waited.
And we waited some more.
Finally, the lunch meeting was over – at 4:00! Apparently this was our first introduction to what is know as “Haitian time.”
In 15 minutes we were done and on our way out of town on the way home.
We learned a valuable lesson that day. Actually two of them.
We are not in control, God is.
Expect the Unexpected.