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Tonderai Tela, co-founder of Zim Expo.

Staff members from the Zimbabwe Embassy have become an instant hit in Chicago at this year's annual Zim Expo, a business and social networking event being held in Chicago, United States of America.

People seeking birth certificates, passports and other documents are trooping to a section of this year's event manned by two staffers and some Zim Expo senior officials.

Although embassy staffers were not in a position to shed light on the number of people who have since obtained birth and death certificates and passports, the number of people visiting their desk is a clear testimony of the pressing need for such documents.

The Embassy staff said they were not cleared by top state officials to speak to the press.

However, beneficiaries are happy to have managed to obtain these precious documents. One of them, Dumisani Mpofu, drove from Michigan to Chicago instead of taking a flight to Washington DC to have his passport renewed.

"This is a very important service. I'm very happy to have come to this place to obtain a new passport. The process was very smooth. It was just a two-hour drive to come here instead of going to DC (District of Columbia).

"I live in Michigan and I drove for one and a half hours to come here and the whole process was well executed. I'm really happy about this because I was supposed to visit Washington DC next month to renew my passport which was set to expire at the end of June."

Several people, who obtained birth certificates and passports, expressed the same sentiments, noting that the embassy should expand this outreach program.

Zim Expo co-founder Tonderai Tela said the processing of passport and birth certificate papers was usually a bit hit among Zimbabweans during Zim Expo.

"We are happy that this has become one of our major events and we hope that many people will come and get the necessary documents."

Tela could not give a specific number of people that have obtained these documents following the inception of Zim Expo 20 years ago.

This year's event is also featuring a business dinner, DJ competition, Miss Zimbabwe USA, business exhibition and soccer matches for teams drawn from all over USA.

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