Today was the culmination of a lot of work Yoli and I and her family have been doing in recent months: Yoli’s parents received tourist visas so that they can come to America!
This is not a particularly easy process for Bolivians. It requires paperwork, making an appointment online with the embassy, and traveling to La Paz. That trip is no trifle: it is an extremely long bus ride, and it is high in the altiplano. Since Yoli’s parents are older and because they live in Santa Cruz in the lowlands, we were very worried about altitude sickness.
They left Monday from Santa Cruz, and traveled first by bus to Cochabamba. Cochabamba is higher than Santa Cruz, but not so high as La Paz. They spent a day there sightseeing, in order to help their bodies acclimatize before continuing on.
They had to wake up early this morning (Thursday) in order to make sure they were at the embassy before the 8 a.m. appointment. I understand that Yoli’s dad was on his knees praying much of the night! We all had a very real fear that they would be denied the visa. After all, when it comes to the embassy, you are guilty of wanting to become an illegal immigrant unless you can prove otherwise. We have heard many horror stories.
When they got to the embassy at 7 a.m., there were already 10 people in front of them in line. Ah, the benefits of age: the embassy folks moved Yoli’s parents to the front of the line. Apparently they were treated well and not asked very many questions during the interview.
Anyway, this is exciting news. We aren’t 100% sure when the visas will take effect, but we should know in a few days. Our assumption is that we will be able to have Yoli’s parents visit beginning some time in June.