It seems that the United States has had a change of heart. The Gambian high school students competing in an international robotics contest will be attending the event after all. The five teens were granted U.S. visas after initially being rejected for unknown reasons.
According to the Associated Press, Mucktarr Darboe, a director at Gambia’s ministry of higher education, research, science and technology, said that after an interview Thursday at the U.S. Embassy, the students were given visa letters and will pick up the documents on Monday. Darboe, the team’s mentor, however, was still denied a visa because the U.S. is not currently giving visas to Gambian government officials. The team will be met by members of the Gambian American Association in Washington, D.C., which was going to represent them in their absence.
The teens made headlines earlier this week after they were denied the visas, which consequently prohibited them from accompanying their invention—a ball-sorting robot—to the prestigious First Global robotics event taking place in D.C. July 16-18.
The teens had voiced their disappointment but kept on working on their machine.
An all-girls team from Afghanistan was also denied visas, and that team does not seem to have had the same change of fortune. The two countries were the only ones among more than 160 to be represented whose team members did not get visas.
Read more at ABC News.