The ordeal I had this morning was crazy, even by my standards (trust me I have very high standards when it comes to rating craziness, otherwise my whole life will be classified as crazy).
This very simple 30 minute task of driving my children to the bus, turned into a 1hr 30 minutes circus. Firstly there was traffic, at 0615, I know right. Then the bus was gone by the time we reached the pick up point, so had to drive like a maniac to intersect its route, which I managed to. My sigh of relief was audible once their bags were in the bus and I kissed them goodbye, got into the car, just as I was about to drive off my son knocks on my window and tells me the bus people say I should go with them to the border since children will not be allowed to pass without a letter of consent if unaccompanied by their parent.
I have no time to do anything but comply. On the way there I distinctly remembered a radio interview on Tuesday, by the immigration people stating that the law has been postponed until October. But just to be cautious i had both children carry their birth certificates. So why am I driving there? We reach the border, I get to the counter and explain the situation to a lady, who asks for my passport. My passport! I explain again, its the children who are traveling, not me. She slowly and loudly says “I heard you, but how do you propose going to the South African side to vouch that they your kids and you gave them to the bus people? They are the ones with those laws, we just require what you already brought.”
One, these children have been looking forward to this trip for a whole month. Two, how do you say you postponed a law while you’re still enforcing it? Three, how on God’s green earth am I going to solve this, I didn’t carry my passport with me, I AM NOT THE ONE TRAVELING. So the bus lady comes through, tells me to wait on the Botswana side while they crossover, and they’ll call if they’re not successful so I can get my kids and go home. She also informs me that is the primary reason why she asked me to come, because there’s no transport from the border and she’ll feel bad leaving the children there.
So while am waiting and trying to wrap my head around the whole thing, the Botswana immigration guys come over and escort me to the South African side, in case there is a problem. I arrive in time to find they have been let through. However I get a tongue lashing from one of the officials. I ask about the postponement and he says, “Child traffickers are not on postponement”. A bit rude but true.
So ladies and gents, I have come to realization that “Child trafficking is real, and its a terrible threat”. And although I felt put out and stressed, I would want those laws to protect my children and make it really difficult for anybody to steal them. We just really need better communication from Immigration Services.