The point of this blog is to take you through my journey.

In Cameroon.

Tell you of the walks down black sand beaches and the tantalizing taste of fresh mango in the morning.

In Cameroon.

Yet, last night, I slept in my parent’s house. In North Carolina.

This morning, I ate something loosely wrapped in foil from Wendy's. In North Carolina.

My mom said all things happen for a reason. My best friend said some things happen because people are idiots.

For weeks leading up to my departure date I stocked up on bug spray, got a million shots in my arms and took anti-malaria pills that had me kneeling to the porcelain throne.

But the most important thing I needed for this trip to Cameroon was my visa (which is stamped in my passport). Without it I would surely be put on a plane back home.

As soon as I got the final documents from the head of the school I would be teaching at I FedEx'd my visa application to the Cameroon embassy in Washington, D.C. I sealed the envelope and gave it to the postal worker with confidence.

Labor Day weekend came. I grabbed a boogie board and headed to the beach on my last weekend with family and friends.

Just for kicks, I tracked on the package online.

"Failed delivery."

My brow shot up and jaw dropped. The application was sent to the wrong address. Correction: The Cameroon embassy put the wrong address on the application.

I called the embassy. A man with a thick accent and broken English answered. I explained what happened and asked for the quickest way to get it to the embassy.

"Call back at 3," he said. And. CLICK!

I called back. Two seconds later. I gave the same speech and closed with, "Do not hang up!" The guy, clearly flustered, said the embassy moved and the address I had was to the temporary building. "So, where's my application?"

He assured me the package would be sent to the new building. And. CLICK!

My application sat in the FedEx office for days with no instructions to re-route. There was still a little more than a week to get it to the embassy and processed on time so I had FedEx send it to the correct address.

Everyday I tracked my package. Everyday I called the rude embassy dude.

"Miss lady. If I spent all my time talking to you, I wouldn't have any time for others," he said. And. CLICK.

Included in my application was my flight itinerary so they knew well in advance when I would leave. But did I trust that? Nope. Two days before my flight I drove up to D.C. Each day I camped outside the Cameroon embassy in Georgetown.

People of all stripes stood with me. From native Cameroonians waiting to start a life in America, antsy college grads headed for Peace Corp service to oil investors. On the phone, the Youth Advocacy Network director stressed: Be VERY nice. And smile. A lot.

Each time the woman at the visa services window called out a name it was as if someone had won the lottery. There were screams, applause and even tears. I just knew my number was up.

Thirty minutes later I stood in the hallway alone.

"Is my visa ready?" I asked. And smiled. A lot.

"Faison, Faison… I see no Faison," she said.

I begged. I pleaded. I played the sympathy card: "I going to be teaching kids. DEAF KIDS! I can't miss this flight."

She told me to come back the next day. Tuesday. The day I was to leave. She assured me it would be ready by 3 p.m. My flight was set to leave at 6 p.m.

I explained my dilemma to United Airlines and sketched out an 11th-hour plan to get my visa and be at Dulles airport with a millisecond to spare. At 3 p.m. I stood outside the embassy waiting for the rude guy at the front desk to open the door.

3:15 p.m. The lottery numbers are called.

3:30 p.m. I stood alone. Again.

I begged. I pleaded. "Did I mention the kids are deaf?”

I demanded to speak with a higher-up. After it was clear I wasn't leaving without my visa the consulate signaled me into his office. He was a slim man. Soft spoken - opposite of the cold and serious vibe from his staff.

He apologized for his office's incompetence (well, in so many words) and said how impressed he was with my application.

"We don't get many visas for six months," he said. “You are doing a good thing.”

I smiled. A lot.

"Can you change your flight?" he asked.


4 p.m. I shook his hand.

4:10 p.m. I walked out of the embassy.

5:20 p.m. I made plans to go back home unsure of what to do next.

(UPDATE: I have my visa!! New departure date: Oct 3)