Painful Account Of A Denied Visa At US Embassy In Harare

Top journalist and documentary filmmaker Hopewell Chin’ono, who said he visited the US Embassy in Harare for a Visa recently, recounted the painful experience of watching a young woman denied a Visa to the US.

Here’s part of the account:

…She paid US$160 for her visa interview, they don’t take Bond notes or debit and credit cards at the US embassy. Strictly greenbacks.


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The young lady was called to the interviewing window, she said that she was a waitress who earns $300 plus tips. She added that she was going on holiday and that she would stay with her friend who is a house wife in Texas.

I could see that the story was now unraveling and going South. The visa immigration officer gave away the verdict by her grimacing looks before she had even finished the interview.

The young girl lives in Mbare with her parents, she is a waitress at a bar in town, she earns $300, has no family in the US except a High School friend who is a house wife, needs a plane ticket which will cost at the very least $1600 and she is going to America on holiday.

I felt for her, but if I was the immigration officer I would have reached the same decision. She didn’t get the visa.

Now she spent just over half of her monthly wages on a futile pursuit for as America visa. These are the real struggles that everyday people are going through whilst trying to escape the grinding poverty in their homeland.

You could hear a pin drop in the interviewing room when she tried to hold herself together, then her tears started rolling down her cheeks followed by sobs. She had just seen her dream of going to America shattered and felt humiliated in front of her compatriots.

She simply said “thank you very much” to the immigration officer and walked away back into the very cold world she was trying to escape. That is the pain that many Zimbabweans of her age are going through due to an environment devoid of choices….

Chin’ono uses the story to note how, as the 2018 elections approach, Zimbabweans are mostly quarrelling, shouting and having partisan arguments not rooted in answers. He notes that we’re not “talking about what is good and how we can get it”.

More: Nehanda Radio

Hopewell Chin'onoMbareBond Notes

Hopewell Chin'ono is a Zimbabwean journalist and documentary film maker. He has won numerous awards in journalism and has worked in both print and broadcasting journalism. Hopewell did a fellowship at Harvard as part of winning the CNN African journalist of the year. In July... Read More About Hopewell Chin'ono

Mbare is the oldest high-density residential area in Zimbabwe. It is located on the southern side of the city about 5 kilometres from the central business district of Harare and is one the most talked about areas in the city. The settlement is home to... Read More About Mbare

Bond Notes are a currency of notes backed by a bond that the Zimbabwe government announced on 4 May 2016 by Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor John Mangudya. The $2 denomination of the notes was finally introduced on 28 November 2016. More notes were... Read More About Bond Notes

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Painful Account Of A Denied Visa At US Embassy In Harare