We had not yet our all-important visa to enter Mozambique when we arrived at the border. We crossed at a very small post. The local authrity was a little bit overwhelmed as he had to handle two foreigners at the same time in a correct manner.And he had to issue some of these really beautiful biometric stickers for our passports:
In this case you do not just pass on a lot of Dollars from your hand to the officers’ one and get a stamp, filling up yet another page of your expensive passport. In Mozambique too, you first follow the ritual of this odd money transfer. After that you are invited to come to a special room within the immigration building. This room is normally equipped with a kind of desk, some chairs and – who would believe it – a laptop with a camera and a scanner for fingerprints. You’re asked to take place on a chair in a corner. Behind you a wall in urgent need of some fresh paint. Of course a little bit a special situation. You receive the officer’s full attention – nevertheless you feel a little like at the reception desk of a prison. The camera is positioned at you; the officer is extremely concentrated in typing some commands on the laptop. You think hopefully all this technical stuff works and he knows well how to handle it, otherwise you would have to go back to the Embassy in Lilongwe some 500 km distant. No worry the picture he took was great (Martin’s last one in the prison was not any better), the fingerprints are scanned, the officer copies one letter after the other from your passport to the laptop (name, surname, last 37 stamps in the passport including the Arab and the Chinese ones).
All no problem, one hour later the printer makes some funny noise, a kind of sticker is produced and fixed onto your passport. The whole thing gets a stamp, you have biometrically correctly entered the Republica do Mozambique and you feel so honoured that all this very advanced technology was efficiently working just for you.