As we watched foreign TV programs in the mid 90’s, we honestly thought the places we saw were completely out of this world. These places seemed so far and surreal to us, plus they were simply impeccable compared to what we were used to seeing around us. I’m not trying to diss my country, but let’s face it, the roads I saw in those countries were all smooth, the people seemed to enjoy 24 hours and 7 days of electricity, it looked like water was constantly running. Those images were other countries and home to other people. Although we had electricity in my home, sometimes it would be interrupted without prior warning, our tap water ran for days but we had at least one day or even more when there was no running water and we had to depend on our kegs of stored water. Suffice to say that seeing the difference between my reality and that of those I watched on TV, I was immediately attracted to these worlds, I had the hunger to live in those houses, and young as I was, I would often daydream and see myself having a family and raising my children in one of those western countries. However, once I grew older and learned more about my continent and country, I started appreciating what I had; close knitted family and communal spirit. I saw my country through a different lens, I saw the good schools we also had, the good people, we also had nice houses, it just depended on the area you lived. Traveling to various states in my country widened my horizon of knowledge about this beautiful place. We may have our political and economic challenges, but we are a strong people and given the right people in government and political positions, we would go very far. Having learned a lot about my country, I no longer wanted to live in the west, I now had plans to go on vacations and return to the place I call home. However, since you never know where life would take you, I found myself leaving the shores of Africa to a completely different continent, not the west like I had dreamt as a child, nevertheless I was leaving!!! Leaving to a place where the culture was completely different, a mono cultural community. As I left, I asked myself, could my childhood dream be coming true? Is this it? Am I leaving Africa for good? Of course I was judged by people, some people thought I was betraying my dear country for leaving, my bosses were not happy, they didn’t understand why I would leave a good job, a job many people longed to have just to go live with my husband? It didn’t make sense to many but it did make a lot of sense to me. I reminded myself again and again that God was making this happen for a reason, and His reasons are always good and excellent.
To this day, many people judge Africans who are living in diaspora, they think we have betrayed or denied our countries, but I don’t think so. Many of us are as African and patriotic at heart as those living in Africa, we have not left Africa for good. For me, I believe that it is a good thing for me to be exposed, get to work and live among other people because exposure is a whole different level of education, one you will never be taught in the four walls of a school. I do not for one second regret leaving my country because I have learned so much, I have learned more about the human race and how behaviors can differ from one people to another, I have learned how to work with people from a different background than mine. My experience just kind of gives me a picture of two people from different cultures getting married. At first, it’s usually very hard for both of them to cope, but with time as they begin to learn about each other’s areas of strength and weaknesses, they naturally adjust to accommodate themselves.
People are often curious to know about my country and my continent, but the only way you can truly know about the continent is by taking up courage to visit it. I know you have heard horror stories on the media about my beloved Africa, but you know the media will only show you what they want you to see. They tell you we’re poor, improvished and nothing to reckon with. Inasmuch as we have our problems in Africa, we also have our pride. We pride in our rich culture, our hospitality, our resilient spirit that never gives up, we pride in our young and educated people and so much more.
So, have I left Africa for good? The answer is a simple but resounding no and you shouldn’t either.
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To those who have been commenting on Facebook, I’m away from Facebook for now but I’ll be connecting with y’all very soon. Have a nice Sunday 😘😘😘