Friday, August 13, 2010

Certificate of Medical Aptitude

In case any of you wondering, I am physically fit and healthy. In fact, I have a piece of paper that says so. Not to mention there is a very important stamp on it making it an official authorized document.

In order to complete our visa application to live in Senegal, I had to see a doctor who would examine me and deem me 'in good health'. He would then stamp a document and sign it. Legally, you are supposed to have TWO doctors visits at TWO different times.

These visits are pretty standard operating procedure when applying for visas in countries; often they entail x-rays, blood tests, copies of vaccination records, etc. In the United States these appointments are quite extensive and often lead to follow up appointments.

But here in Senegal, you can get whatever you need for a price.

Today, I went to a clinic for my appointment. Richard came along with me to translate.
For the record, I will change the doctor's name for the sake of his privacy.

Doctor Diop enters the room. He asks me to lie down on the table. He has me stick out my tongue and say 'ahhhh'. He then has me sit up, and listens to my heart. He then puts his hands on my throat and asks me to swallow. He has me do it a second time, but by the time I could gather enough saliva to swallow again, he was already sitting at his desk stamping and signing the document saying that I was healthy.

Doctor Diop leaves the room.

He reenters, but this time, he is now Doctor Thiam (the second doctor signing the second form). He does not examine me a second time, but signs the form.

For $40, and half an hour of my time, I leave the clinic having seen two doctors and the official documents saying that I am in good health.

However, as astonished as I was by this whole process, Richard pointed out that the government will probably not even have our visa ready for three or so years... I wonder if it will be complete by the time we move back to the USA...

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