I used to get offended when people would say that we people back home were stretching our legs in the sun, waiting for our relatives in America (or any country abroad for that matter) to send us money or to come save us from poverty altogether. I still get infuriated at such utterances. But back then, it simply baffled me as to how someone could say, let alone, think such thoughts when in all honesty, we people back home were waiting on no one. Except Jesus. You know Him and his second coming?
Here is why we were not waiting: First, approximately 80% of us had no relatives abroad save for cousin Barack Obama and of course my high school crush, Chris Brown who I outgrew the exact second I learnt that he had assaulted a woman. So again, who exactly would we have been waiting for? Secondly, just tell me, how could we have been waiting for someone to come to save us when Jesus had already died a little over 2000 years before and as a matter-of-factly said, ‘It is finished.’?
Secretly, I felt that maybe some of these people abroad- especially those that shared in the thoughts shared above- were either shallow and or just feeling sugar-spice-and-milk now that they flew over the air before the rest of us. Or was it because they were such good swimmers that they never drowned while crossing the Atlantic Ocean on their way abroad? Pardon my lame judgment back then that was mingled with an extremely green-eyed monster. Understand that at the time, I saw the world from a slanted angle. A really slanted angle.
However, everything else I said in the first paragraph stands. Because again, Africa is waiting for no one to come save it. Africa is doing its own thing, so people abroad, I will not keep my two cents in the pocket concerning this particular matter. When you go back home, do visit your parents in the village or in the towns, have a good time but remain humble to learn because that continent is thriving with or without you.
Before I go on, allow me say that 99.1% of people back home are very hardworking and doing juuuust fine whether they have relatives abroad or not. Wait, they are doing really well, which by the way, should not come as a surprise to anyone. Seriously, you’ve heard the saying that the world is everyone’s oyster, haven’t you? However, today I won’t focus on that percentage of the population. I will dwell on the 0.9% who for some reason I can’t think of, believe that their relatives in America owe them some form of tax.
Yes, I mean that tiny percentage of mortals who believe that their relatives abroad have too much money that they just do not want to share with them. And thus, they go wrecking havoc in the inboxes of these innocent diaspora who are also trying to make a life for themselves in places that bear no semblance of home.
I am talking about the 0.9% that texts them demanding for the latest iPhones, MacBook’s and label clothes without sending the money for those items. Here is what I mean when I say that they demand these things. They send their people in the diaspora rude texts like, ‘I saw this laptop worth $600 on a website there. When can I get it?’ Then they follow that up after three days with another text that reads: ‘When are you sending it to me?’
They also send text messages like, ‘Si I told you to help me get a visa, why did you go quiet on me?’ or ‘Give me a non-refundable loan, bro’ or ‘Hi. Buy me lunch today.’ Better still, we have straight-shooters who go for the kill by asking stuff like: ‘Why don’t you organize for me to come abroad?’
I am talking about those people who are not close friends with any of the people they know in the diaspora and still have the nerve to ask for stuff in texts that read like this: ‘Hey I just saw this new designer dress worth Ksh. 6000 and was wondering if you can get it for me’. Keep in mind that the sender and the recipient have no tangible relationship, let alone friendship. Let us put this into perspective, a good number of people abroad, be it native or nonnatives like to shop in the clearance section on a normal day. And even if that were not the case, don’t you think that one should only make such demands when they have some sort of relationship with whoever they are asking for that designer stuff?
Then there are those that do not exactly descend on people’s inboxes. (mostly distant relatives you saw at a burial 10 years ago) These ones just visit the diaspora-ns’ pictures and leave unsettling comments like, ‘You’re so lucky to be visiting such beautiful places. It is a pity that you don’t want your nieces and nephews to have such a good life too.’ I am also talking about those relatives who during family fundraisers complain that people abroad are not contributing enough money to a cause.
I will not forget to mention the ones that ask or demand money but never even bother to say that they received it but still have it in them to return with their Oliver Twist Shenanigans weeks later. Speaking of money, wherever in the world you are, if someone (even your parent) gives you any money, let’s say $50 dollars, learn to look at it this way, this person if they are in a minimum wage job, they went to work for 7 hours that month just for you. So before you think of ‘forgetting’ to tell them that you received the money they sent you, remember that they went and worked some hours for you.
Now that we are educating each other today, here are a few things people abroad never caution us about. Thing one, please let us not ask them for visas. Visas are only issued by immigration offices. Secondly, do not ask them for scholarships. I, however, do recommend inquiring from them if they may know of any scholarships.
Something else they don’t tell us is that it is exhausting to open their inboxes only to be met with messages from us that take the form of, ‘‘You never even say hi since you flew out’ or ‘You are such a bad friend, why didn’t you tell me you were flying out?’ when you and them were not close friends in the first place. Also, life in the western countries can be lonely af. Everyone seems to always be in the run to go to work or do something and sooner than later, loneliness becomes a companion in their lives. It is even worse if they do not have family there. Therefore, the next time your relative or friend abroad happens to mention in their conversations with you that it can be lonely there, try not to respond with phrases like, ‘you don’t even know how lucky you are to be there’ or ‘at least you are lonely but not broke’ Your answer may seem witty. Heck, it even may hold some truth to it. But will it be appropriate?
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Also, I will be posting twice a week from now onward i.e (Mondays and Wednesdays). Monday posts will take the form they’ve always taken while Wednesdays will hold a more personal touch as well as real life experiences (funny, embarrassing as well as educative) In case you missed last Wednesday’s post, you are not too late! I got you;) Here’s the link: They forgot to pay me. Again.