A comedy of paper and ink

I was so proud. I had written my first affidavit for a client who would be appealing the decision to reject his claim for refugee recognition. My supervising attorney and her candidate attorney were both satisfied with my draft and provided very little feedback. After talking to the client, I was able to fill in some gaps to help strengthen his claim. 'Yes,' I thought, 'I am finally getting the hang of this baby-lawyer stuff.' I set a time Tuesday afternoon for the client to come in to sign the affidavit before he appeared at Home Affairs on Wednesday. I walked him over to the Commissioner of Oaths to swear to the accuracy of the affidavit and sign it, which should not take more than a few minutes. Included in the affidavit were several annexures I left at the LRC office to bind after the signing, despite the voice in my head telling me to bring with us the 500+ pages of supporting materials that added independent verification of the conditions of his home country at the time he fled and presently. 

We arrive at the Commissioner of Oaths' office (just a couple of doors down from LRC's offices, conveniently). The Commissioner takes us into a conference room and she notices the references to annexures in the affidavit's footnotes. "Where are the annexures?" she asks, adding something about needing to sign them as well. Kicking myself, I tell her they are back at the office but I would run to get them. Already feeling like I am not doing a good job presenting the LRC to the client or the Commissioner, I sprint back to the office and get the stacks of paper. The look on the Commissioner's face when she saw how many pages of additional documentation I had upon my return immediately warned me that I had done something wrong. You see, the Commissioner and the client have to initial every single page of annexures. All 500+ pages. I wanted to sink into the floor and disappear forever realizing that I was about to waste everyone's afternoon. All I could do was sit at the conference room table while they initialed each page of each document I thought I had done such a good job finding and including to support our client's claim. Eventually, I found a way to assist with laying out the pages to make it faster on our client, but it still took over an hour. As we left the office, I promised the Commissioner I would never return with that many pages again. "Please tell that to your colleagues as well," she tersely replied. Floor, take me away.

I was ready to come back to the office head held low and the butt of (hopefully good-natured) jokes, but there was no time for indulging my wounded pride. No one was interested in making me feel bad about my mistake, myself included as it turned out when I walked through the LRC doors that next morning. It was time to move on to researching internally displaced people in the Democratic Republic of Congo and refugees in Mozambique. Plus, I have more clients whose cases I need to research and build new arguments for their appeals. This time, though, those arguments will not have quite so many annexures.

Full belly
  • Still without Wi-Fi in my Airbnb, I ventured out to Sea Point Saturday afternoon and got comfortable in Bootlegger Coffee Company, a local coffee chain with amazing french fries (and a good turmeric latte). Across the street, I watched crowds file in and out of Mojo Market. Before heading home, I walked over and ordered a hot dog from one of the vendors. There are so many other vendor options that I had a hard time choosing, so I hope to return and try a few more before leaving.
  • On Monday, I skipped my usual gym class routine and joined some of my coworkers for happy hour at Roxy. R10 (that's less than $1) for a beer, plus a plate of nachos made with Dorito's and I was not regretting the decision to miss the gym.
  • Every first Thursday of the month, the art galleries in my neighborhood (CBD - the Central Business District) stay open late for First Thursdays. After wandering through some galleries, one with a baker selling his homemade cake slices that were unbelievably vegan they were so good, and taking in a live band with an amazing guest singer at Café Roux we stopped at Clarke's where I decided to keep with the vegetable-based diet and order the vegetarian sloppy joe.
  • Friday night, we gathered at The Moveable Feast for a French meal before many of us would hike up Table Mountain the next day. I couldn't say no to the steak-frites but thankfully ordered it medium because it was overcooked and any temperature hotter would have made it inedible. Instead of sharing a dessert with everyone, I saved the room for a slice of pizza at NY Slice Pizza. Rarely one to pass up dessert, the perfectly crunchy crust, gooey cheese, and fragrant mushrooms was a good cap for the night before I rested up for our two-hour hike.
    Disguising my need to rest with a cute pose