WHY ARE WE HERE? A reflection on Life Abroad.

By Njoku Saint Jerry A

Life overseas is one page of experience other than what you see in those glossy magazine pictures of Ebony, Ovation and the lots of them that flickers across your glimpse or what you heard that flew in from the back door, How people are ‘making it’ overseas while some are roasting somewhere. Back home where we come from, place of our nativities, ‘some of us’…we are in heaven while ‘They’ are in ‘Hell’. Actually an acquaintance of mine wrote a mail like that…. Brother we are roasting here! See how well we are so used to hell that we have borrowed some vocabularies from its pit.

This is why we ran away from home because we presumed there was a heaven somewhere and hell is a place where there is a lack of basic amenities or a sparse supply of it, a place where you could be owed for three (3) months salary consecutively and asked to report to work as demanded by the record or be kicked out without benefit for complaining because by the time you’ll be filling a report to justify inhuman treatment, the authority is waiting to pick you up as a potential rebel.

Salem is a young man in his undergraduate year in a favored seminary, favored in the sense that a good number of the undergraduates there are either top celebrity clergies who are there to get some paper qualifications to the ‘divine calling’ or that the prospective young clergies are on scholarship placing them on a choice list of either the sponsoring churches or at the perks of ‘Mummy and Daddy’s’ or let’s call them ‘General Overseers’. Actually, the young man bolted away from the seminary before the finals, throw the scholarship overboard, dropped the ‘claimed divine calling’ for Mummy and Daddy and came here because as goes the common saying of our people ‘ Life’s hard in Lagos, Nigeria and things are easy in overseas.’…’E dey happen for Yankee’ One is the hell, the other is the heaven.

Salem was picked up in the street out there in the cold where he’d been snatching some sleep for the past 10 days in the smoky and phlegm coated Chinese café’s, his shirt almost torn on him.

But why was Salem here in the first place to have wasted his future this much taking the place of a vagabond?, a promising young pastor back home!

They told us life in overseas is very easy, infact once you get there, you will ‘make it’ within four (4) months. Actually, an uncle told me he is expecting my container of goods within the first 6 months of stay because he had presumed that once you get there, your problem is solved…This is why we are here.

Ade has complained himself out of job because he sees no reason why he should be underpaid for working for a First Generation bank. He came here also, to this our heaven. Unknown to Ade, he’d been tricked out of his job for a vain promise of heaven somewhere without a valid purpose of departure from his home. ‘The presumed hell’…other than the abused phrase…’Hustle for a living’.

There is nothing to hustle in China if you have no definite purpose of coming here.

Ade has been deceived. Over four months now, it’s been very difficult to go back home because he could hardly make up for a return ticket back to ‘that hell’….of course he has no job there any longer not even from an Ancient Generation Bank…neither is there anything like bright prospect here unless a divine miracle occurs. Now he really longed for that sweet home he’d ran away from but it seems so elusive because according to him he’d earlier celebrated his departure and vowed never to go back…

Misery could fit the best description of a man bereft of common sense. People ride bicycle to earn a living in China, scavengers is a common sight here even in some big cities, they live on that. I’ve seen a cart pusher moving people on a dime per ride, something like 1 Kobo in Nigeria. Much more than that. People do any menial thing here to make a living. Of course they have good government!

We came here without a valid purpose other than ‘”I wan make am big time” because of greed, falsehood and deceit. There is no gold in the streets of most oversea countries Things seems better because they operate a subsidized market economy, there is a strong market and price control system at the interest of the common people. An evidence of good governance and leadership.

Uche alighted from the Ethiopian Airline at the International Airport in Beijing and shuffled his way through immigration after the usual reception into the country, the young man look so lost when he was approached by another black boy who proffered assistance. But the fact is Uche has no destination… ’”Me, I come hustle now”…that was his response when asked where he was going to in China. Today, Uche is in the Chinese prison wasting, the young man was picked in the street during the last raid on illegal immigrants in the capital city.

We are here because we love deception. People who go to overseas without a valid purpose only come here to join a vicious circle of life of fantasy…well, there might be some bit of progress….as goes the usual slang.. “Dat guy don make am, e neva tay wey hin travel go ofasee.” So we all run amuck on board to even some countries whose life standard and expectation is far below the standard of an uneducated Nigerian…Of course they have good government. Maybe we don’t have.

We are here because we have allowed greed to erode our conscience. There is no evil for a young man who has an invitation overseas and he went there and performs his duties creditably, infact the experience is quite educational than the inherent difficulties in the first place. Of a truth, opportunities abound here. Whether business or academic. And a patient mind will definitely reap the benefit of traveling overseas. But what will a young Nigerian Pastor, promising young man of God who bolted away from his chapel despite some ‘perks’ from ‘Daddy and Mummy’ Our General Overseer tell Lagosians if he was picked in the streets of Beijing by immigration police with expired documents; an incident that has sent most Nigerian young men behind bars overseas where some may NEVER see that blessed country (Nigeria) again because some of them have re-sold their traveling documents for whatsoever reasons before they were picked up.

According to Pastor Salem…”I wan hustle small first, make some quick cash’’ China na ‘ebeano!…

The fact is, the time wasted overseas living in fantasy could have been invested into a meaningful lifetime but like the proverbial stubborn housefly that ended in the soup pot, we learn too late.
Today, Ade has gone back home through the help of the Nigerian embassy, Uche is still ‘roasting in prison’ other than the ‘hell’ he’s running away from, tell me, which other hell is worse than a communist prison?, Salem has gone back to the street, now he longed to go back home, to that ‘hell’ which is far more sweeter than this ‘heaven’ now, unfortunately it’s been pretty difficult for kinsfolk to raise fund for his return ticket back home.

The story is endless; some parents may never see their wards again in life! Unless a divine miracle happens, where are they? They are in the real man made hell ‘Commie prison’ for a crime other than refusal to heed to simple instruction: ‘Don’t come to China if you have nothing to do in China! Those who are not yet in prison are in the streets constituting nuisance and shame to the blessed image of our great country Nigeria. If life is difficult in Nigeria, it is difficult also in other African countries and almost everywhere in the world, the only difference is ‘The kind of Government in control of a place’’…Maybe ours is not good enough.

Look before you leap’ You’ve got only one life to live.

God bless

Email Jerry at jerrynjoku@yahoo.com


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