We have been working on Oyis' medical visa for over 3 months and have hit many bumps on the road. When I was visiting him last week and saw how badly his leg needs proper surgery and how bored the little man is at the hospital, something inside me snapped. (It probably didn't hurt that Oyis looked up at me that morning with his big brown eyes and said, "You're my mom, aren't you?") The very next day, I was able to arrange a meeting with the Mayor of Port-au-Prince. Five minutes with him and we were back in the car, going to the Ministry of Interior. Next thing I knew, I was face to face with the Minister himself and was being told, "You speak remarkably good Creole!" Apparently, he was impressed enough to pull the necessary strings and get us approved.
This morning, I took Oyis to the airport with friends of mine who were flying out. We waited and waited for the representative of Immigration who was assigned to meet us and give us the one-time departure authorization that would allow Oyis to leave without a passport. The flight was at 8:50am and at 8:00, the man was still not inside. At the ticket counter, I overheard the ladies close our flight. I sprinted to the counter and began my most enthusiastic Haitian arguing. It's pretty simple: you cannot take "No" for an answer.
Leslie, my Immigration friend, came waltzing in at 8:15 and the wonderful women at American Airlines graciously reopened the flight and got Oyis and company boarding passes. Everything looked good until we got to Immigration where the man at the desk flatly refused to honor the authorization even though it had the Minister's assistant's signature on it. Leslie ran outside, got his own stamps from his car and stamped Oyis through himself. So finally at 8:38am, Oyis rolled through security and onto his first airplane. Yay!