I am honestly so pissed and emotional right now that I could blow up. I am trying to gather my thoughts and feelings because I don’t want to lose it. It’s not worth it. I have witnessed firsthand how depressed some of us are over here. Far away from loved ones and the ties we have with family are what keep us stuck sometimes. The entitlement. The deceit. The blackmail. The ingenuity. Name it. Most of us not only went abroad in search of greener pastures for ourselves but also to be able to give a hand to our families back home. We want to be in this together. We want to hold each other down and raise above together. But some ungrateful people will have you almost lose your mind.
Diaspora life isn’t bliss at all. It is a fight every day. You face high walls raised against you. You can barely make it here. You work so hard, you take any job, you work overtime and even at times under the radar just to make sure you survive and can support your people back home. Some of whom are so ungrateful and undeserving of this sacrifice. There are so many people in the diaspora struggling every day to keep afloat. Fighting that the system accepts them. Laying low and praying that the system doesn’t catch up with them. Struggling to raise the rent. They don’t own a car or a house contrary to your assumption because their priority is you, their family. But you go ahead and take everything they do so lightly. You go ahead and disrespect the little or much they do. Shame on you.
You never call them and the only time you do is when you want money. Money money money. Fuck this money. You don’t even observe courtesy to call them to say you received the money they sent. They have to call you to ask if you received it. You squander the money they send you for projects they are hopeful will be your breakthrough. You manipulate them into giving and giving and more giving. You have no idea how much the diasporas I have met here love their families. They love them so much they are unable to break these ties even though they clearly know they are been used. Some of you parents out there threaten to disown your kids if they don’t send support. Support being money. Because just a genuine call isn’t enough and a statement like “tuko pamoja” has been tied to money. You expect us to send money for any event and emergency that comes up. When most of these things have absolutely nothing to do with us. The key word there being “expect”
Some of us still uphold our cultures. Even those that clearly don’t serve us anymore. We are afraid to lose family. Because honestly finding a new family isn’t easy. Blood ties are hard to break. And if we all loved and respected each other without ulterior motives then we wouldn’t worry about wanting to cut ties. So do some self-reflection and see how you relate to your family. See if your mannerisms push them away from you or if you pull them closer. Create space to have genuine talks. Take responsibility for your life and everything involved in that. Know it is no one else’s obligation to pay your child’s school fees. Find a way to accept that your children are not obligated to take over your parental obligations. Your sisters, brothers, aunties, and uncles are not obligated to help you.
I’ll let you in on something, this is no heaven here. Black tax will be the end of some of us. Has been actually for some. We have had some young people taking their lives because of such issues. Some of us have turned alcoholics and are struggling with depression and other mental illnesses all rooted in pressure to provide for ungrateful people. Duties they shouldn’t be performing to please their loved ones. “Help” should come from a good place. Help shouldn’t destabilize one party while the other lives in ignorance boasting how their so and so is abroad. Helping you should be our choice. And we somehow keep choosing you. It’s like a curse.
Gratefulness is not only about saying “thank you” and or apologizing. Show you are grateful by your actions. If someone sends you money, respect their hard-earned money. Respect it by using it wisely and for the purpose it was sent for. If someone is paying your school fees, for example, your only job there is to attend all classes and work smart in school, get better grades to put you in better positions in the future. If someone sends you money for a business, have a well-planned business plan and have an idea of where to fall back on in case it doesn’t work out. If someone sends you money for food, find places to buy affordable food and plan that money well for a long stretch as you try finding ideas of how to provide food for yourself next time. Show you value the help you get.
Please give us the space to grow so we can eventually make it together. You have to realize that no one can finish all your problems. Kindly allow us space to save and invest. Kindly be honest enough to say “No; you don’t need to send money this time. I got it.”
I honestly don’t care how harsh I sound. These thoughts came from a hurt place. And I am here supporting the diaspora whose tears are barely seen. Whose love often goes unreciprocated. And at this point, I won’t talk about the accountability we have to master. Because trust me, we know.
Yow I feel your sentiments. It is so frustrating. But I have a principle that shields me from loosing it because any change will need a complete overhaul of the morals and beliefs of our African society and that will be something that might take decades. So my principle is if I am in a position to help I will but I will always put my needs first and the rest will only get after I am ok. So when I am not ok financially, sorry I am not in a position to help, is all I say. When I help them I free myself of the burden of wondering whether my assistance has fulfilled its purpose because expectations lead to disappointments. I am glad you are back to writing.