Then there was the Swaziland adventure. We had driven for five hours from Johannesburg to the Swaziland border (Swaziland is a kingdom in South Africa, and is considered a separate country), and were now going through immigration there. We had our passports at the ready, certain of the impending monotony of showing identification and filling out forms as necessary. But when we got to the window, the immigration officer said that, because I was a minor, I was not allowed into the country without a birth certificate. Apparently, a very new law had gone into effect stating this in order to prevent the human trafficking of children. But it just so happened that I was bound by this new, very inconvenient law, and I had no means of giving them a legal document that was more than ten thousand miles away.
Luckily, as had happened with our lost luggage, my dad was persistent, and insisted on talking to the supervisor. Sure enough, he let us go, especially after being informed of our reasons for coming to his country– to better the lives of his own people with solar cooking. But he warned us that we would be unable to get back out of Swaziland once we were in the border, unless we got a certified copy of my birth certificate.
Thus began our slightly stressful efforts to enable me to leave the country of Swaziland. I did see multiple billboards advertising the local universities there, and I even considered enrolling in a few in case I was unable to go back home to attend UH Manoa ;). Luckily, I didn’t have to do that; we were able to get in touch with people back home, get it certified, and cross the border to get back into South Africa, and then home. If we’d been unable to do so, I might be going to the University of Swaziland right now.