I am in the process of trying to do the impossible. My mom needs a good conduct certificate from the criminal investigation department of the ministry of home affairs in Tanzania for her to obtain the US green card. She lived in Tanzania between 1974 and 1983; The US consulate has provided us with information on where we can obtain this certificate which according to the documentation they provided should take 2 weeks. It's going to be almost a month and we have no idea what the status on the paper work is. So here I am now trying to determine what the status of the paperwork is. So far I have managed to establish a phone conversation with a person in the ministry who has asked me to Fax details of the case again. I have faxed the information but now I have to call again to know what the status on the "requesting status request" is. Add to that timezone differences, language differences, bad international calling card quality and you know what I am up against.
On the bright side I got a phone number from the Internet and a cheap calling card all courtesy of the internet (can't imagine what we would be doing without the internet and internet commerce) and above all a fairly courteous individual at the other end. Hope this story has a good ending.