Inolvidable Cairo

A compilation of tales, thoughts and images from the never-ending adventures...Click on any of the images for a blown-up version. Thanks for visiting.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Mugamma

Success navigating the Mugamma - "I'm a resident-tourist!"

Genia received her resident status in Egypt today. Egypt has something for everyone, no doubt. Since she is no longer a tourist (on a one-month visa) and she does not yet have a work permit (since there is the chicken and egg scenario of her work - here to create an office for an organization that already exists but is not legally recognized yet), she can have a one-year "tourist residence" visa. Now tell me that's not great! Most of us would consider that an oxymoron, but in Egypt it makes perfect sense. The other interesting aspect of the process is actually procuring the tourist residence visa. There is a behemoth institution here named the Mugamma which oversees all the aspects of residency, visas, probably taxes and other things. It is bureaucracy at its apogee.

Yet, in a beautiful way that we are just not accustomed and like so many things in Egypt, the Mugamma is really and truly underpinned by a very elaborate system of organized chaos. Yes, that is another oxymoron, but it is a healthy dose of how to make sense of so many of the processes and experiences in Egypt, and keeping a smile on your face and being willing to bounce from one kiosk window to the next like a human pinball will help you navigate and keep you sane. All in all, we don't look forward to having to do this process twice (when it's Brian's turn to apply), but at least we will have the experience chalked up and know what is expected ahead of time.

So, in the end, Genia got the visa this afternoon! The funny part is that it is written in English on the visa stamp itself, "No working allowed." I guess she broke that rule...

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