So after 45 minutes of travel time instead of a 15-minute journey, I arrived at the Passport Office.
I checked in to FourSquare, and oh my, the tips I saw. I was actually worried because I knew it was public service and the tendency of hearing “Oh, he has not returned from the Easter Break” was high. But fortunately, I didn’t experience that. A plus for them. So I sat in the queue advancing while others at the front were being asked to go for one document or the other. So it finally got to my turn. The guy took my paper and then asked me to produce my original Birth Certificate. Anxiously, I checked in my bag and drew it out for him. My heart almost skipped a beat because I thought I had left it back in the hostel.
After going through, he passed me on to the next. The next time I heard my name, I had to sit for a vetting. This man asks me of my profession, then I tell him I’m an Entrepreneur-in-Training. After debating back and forth (one of them even asked me to define the word “entrepreneur”), they managed to make me change it to “Student”. [Just because I needed a passport]. Whew, finally passed one stage.
So the next office I got to, the guy just had to sign my form. Then I moved to the next office. This office was to check my birth certificate against the name I provided on the passport form. Then another office! This office was supposed to check my biodata. Just when the guy was about to sign, he ticked two fields I was supposed to fill, my grandparents’ and father’s home address. WHAT! So I had to call my dad too, (something I rarely do) for his home address which surprisingly he knew off-head. Felt like a hero. Just got there in time for him to sign. Next was the almighty photograph.
So after all those parts of the document had been cleared, we were led in a file (like sheep to the slaughter, literally) to the next main building, where we were to take the pictures. Waited there for about 15 mins before being called to take thumbprints, on all 10 fingers. Had to go sit down again, for about another 10 mins before I was called to come for the photo shoot. Stood there, took the photo. I guess it was good picture.
Then I had to go sit down again! Waited for another 20 minutes before being called by last guy. When I got there, He almost raised the issue of entrepreneur-student again. Then I politely told him, “I have rectified that with the previous guys”.
FINALLY! Then I was acquitted and discharged. It was a test of how our systems in Ghana work. I fully appreciate the thorough processes you have to go through, but it takes too much time! 3-and-a-half hours! I can write some good code with that. I hope these systems become better. We are running late of technology.
An IDEA! There can be an online form. You fill it, scan the necessary letters and signatures, attach them, and forward it. If there are issues, they call you and you come to the office to fix it. We can save more money and time with systems like these.