Writer, Editor, Stand-Up Comedian

The people and them place

Posted: July 9th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Editorial | Tags: , , | 5 Comments »

My daughter Miss Thing is trying to go to the US to study for a baccalaureate at the UWC College in New Mexico. It’s an incredible opportunity: she would get to meet students from all over the world, undertake a rigorous academic programme, hike, ski, do community service and all kinds of other good stuff. The goals of the UWC are to increase sustainability and world peace by teaching young people from diverse parts of the world to think of the world as one world, with one goal–making that one world a better place.

Miss Thing was one of only six T&T students who were chosen by the local committee of the UWC to attend these colleges worldwide. Other students got to go to Wales, Costa Rica, Canada, Hong Kong… Same curriculum but different local experiences. In Hong Kong you make field trips to Tibet, for example; in New Mexico, you go to Mexico. Some of the places, including the US one, came with a partial scholarship.

The only teeny, tiny flaw in this grand plan is that you still need a US visa to attend the US college. And your getting a US visa is contingent on the mood of the interviewer at the Embassy when you get to his window. I’m not a big fan of the US, and my love of the Embassy in POS … Let’s not go there. Needless to say, this has not been a fun experience. Hopefully on our next attempt we bring all the documentary evidence they require to know that 1) we’ll pay our part and 2) she’ll come back to Trinidad & Tobago when she’s through. The interviewer did not even glance at the letter from UWC-TT saying they were paying part of the cost. All he wanted to know was that my bank balance (no other financial statement would do, just a BANK statement) showed that I had enough cash to cover the fees.

This experience once again reminds me why people have the relationship they do with the US and with US Embassies worldwide. Why can’t the officers there treat the citizens of the countries–in which those officers are guests–with humanity, dignity and respect? Lest you think I’m alone in my grouse, check out this video.