February 18, 2008
The joys of applying for a Darfur travel permit
Sometimes you apply for one, and it gets processed in a couple of days, but no one tells you about it, so you check back in a week because things never get processed that fast in Sudan, and you find that it has been lying around on somebody's desk for seven days, the only trouble is that the permit started from the day that they issued it, so half of your timeslot has already gone, and by that time something else has come up, so you can't go anyway.
You apply for one, but something has actually has happened in Darfur, like an attack on three western towns, so somebody somewhere decides that this is not the best time to let foreign journalists visit the region, so you call day after day after day, and the Council of External Information keeps on telling you that it hasn't come through but you should phone back again to check that afternoon, very politely mind, and gradually you come to accept that there is some kind of freeze in operation, then something else comes up, so when the pass actually finally comes through you are half way through doing that something else, so you can't go anyway.
You sit back, enjoy the three weeks that you are spending not travelling to Darfur, and read the reports coming through from your colleague who got her travel permit processed just before the shut down.
Posted by aheavens at February 18, 2008 7:44 AM