So back at the end of August, I dutifully mailed off my research permit using registered mail with the US Postal Service. The envelop got as far as Johannesburg and then vanishes from the tracking records!
This sent me into a panic because I need the permit to enter Botswana as a researcher.
The “note to self” in this case is “use Fedex”. They maintain tracking control all the way through delivery. It didn’t occur to me that the same does not apply for the US Postal Service, which hands mail over to the in country postal services, which may or may not have the tracking infrastructure.
So, after panicking and calling USPS, I spent the rest of the morning googling Botswana government websites for more information about who to contact about research permits. These were temporarily down, so I called the Botswana Embassy in Washington D.C. The person who answered the phone assured me that all my questions would be answered by looking on the website. Apart from being ironic, my research permit was still no closer, so back I went to Google.
Now, the research permit is addressed to the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Environment, Wildlife, and Tourism. This person presumably would know if my permit application had been received, so I needed to know who the Permanent Secretary is. That’s how I found out that the job was open last year. I’m not sure if it has been filled. But in the process, I did discover who else I might contact – and I emailed that person.
He was so helpful. He accepted my emailed research permit application and got it into the right hands for processing. He said it would take 10 days, which brings us to about now. So, I will keep you posted.