Never has there been a visa more desired. The day before the X-mas holidays started and three days before my departure, it still had not arrived, although I had applied two weeks earlier. Hectic phone calls, email exchanges, mapping out a plan B (which quickly imploded) and the very sad thought of losing a plane ticket, turned the 23rd of December into a nightmarish day. At 4pm I could not take it any longer and called the responsible person in Benin on my mobile. Guess what, he told me to tell the consulate to issue the visa. He will give his okay the next day. And they did.