Will dad be here for Father's Day?

Becky Harris and Mgonea Luhui celebrate their wedding together last summer. They hope to also be together for the birth of their child, which could happen anytime. - courtesy Becky Harris
Becky Harris and Mgonea Luhui celebrate their wedding together last summer. They hope to also be together for the birth of their child, which could happen anytime.
— image credit: courtesy Becky Harris

A pregnant Duncan woman who’s due at any time has done everything she can to get her Tanzanian husband into the country for the birth of their first child.

She’s now asking for the community’s help.

The mother-to-be is asking area residents to sign a letter of support today or tomorrow at Nanaimo Cowichan MP Jean Crowder’s Duncan office, so her husband ,Mgonea Luhui, can be at her side for the birth of their child.

“This is such a great community, I’m hoping that they can help,” long-time Cowichan Valley resident Becky Harris said.

Yesterday, Luhui arrived in Tanzania’s capital of Dar es Salaam, after travelling 16 hours by bus to get the papers for his permanent resident visa. According to Harris, the documents aren’t available online.

With any kind of luck, Luhui will also get an interview this week with someone at the Canadian Embassy, regarding his permanent status and hopefully his temporary visa. That’s where the letters of support come in.

“We’re hoping that will help with the interview process and help influence the decision,” Harris said.”I want him to be here to bond with the baby and to be with the baby for a bit.”

Harris last saw her husband on Dec. 31, when she returned to Canada because she is a Type 1 diabetic and considered a high-risk pregnancy. She’s due July 13, but is currently in hospital awaiting her child’s birth, which could happen any time.

“We don’t have time on our side any more.”

Harris worked in Tanzania 3 1/2 years and married her husband in July 2013. According to her, he’s been denied a temporary visa three times: twice in 2012 and a month ago in May.

“We were told that his temporary applications were denied because the permanent application was in the works and not far enough along,” Harris said.

At this point, it doesn’t matter so much to her whether he gets a permanent or temporary visa, just that he’s here for the birth.

“If they’d just let him into the country, we’d be OK with him going back while waiting for his permanent visa,” she said. “All we can do is try, hopefully they’ll let him in on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.”

Crowder agreed that the temporary visa has been denied because of his permanent visa application.

She said she could ask the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to intervene, but wouldn’t recommend doing so unless Luhui is turned down for his temporary visa.

“It’s best to let them review the temporary application, get the decision and then, if turned down, approach the minister. “

“This is normal,” she said. “We have people who have been in the queue for years.”

Normally, permanent resident applications take 18 months to process.Those wanting to sign a letter of support during the next couple of days can stop in at Crowder’s Duncan constituency office at #101 126 Ingram Street.

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