Zimbabweans in diaspora have not made a bad choice after all

Zimbabweans in diaspora have not made a bad choice after all
Published: 04 December 2017 (237 Views)
Most people have left their motherland with the hope of staying only for six months and then go back home. Those who travelled first never told other's the truth. They make every one believe that staying abroad is a bed of rose petals. at least if they say bed of roses you cannot blame them because roses prick, but the petals are soft. it is only when you arrive in the foreign land that you will realise that Home is best. A number of people have stayed on because they are ashamed to come back home without anything. The need to prove a point makes one stay longer but at a high price. A few days ago, ten years have passed since I started living in London, says Zebron Phiri a Zimbabwean migrant in the UK. The first time, a couple of years ago, I was here for a few hours as a tourist. The second time I came I was so sure I will never last six months, guess what I am here. I do not regret the move but the first years were tough and I lived like a slave a willing slave.

Even before my Bachelors graduation in Zimbabwe I was searching for institutions in London in which I could do my masters and empower myself. I was not poor and was not an economic refugee. I came to better myself and enhance my capacity to compete in the global village. In general that was however more or less an excuse in order to be able to leave Zimbabwe maybe permanently. Zimbabwe was still good but the signs of economic meltdown were showing. Knowing that something out there was waiting for me, having found an institution for my internship, I couldn't just cancel everything. Apart from that, having committed to something like this can be very helpful in terms of one's mental state of mind if you are coming to a foreign country planning to go back home later.. If from the moment of your arrival you know that in a few days you will have to go to work, you have a mental safety net in comparison to just packing your things and leaving and then being in state of insecurity, where you have to fill your days and hours with time consuming and compulsory procedures and necessities such as like the search for an apartment, the registration at the local authorities, the job applications and so on.it turned out to be different but I thank God I have achieved a lot. In this country UK the sky is the limit. I have known many who have been in the UK for the past twenty years and they have achieved NVQ 1 which is equivalent to first aid course. this is mainly because some are myopic and only want to eat now no worries about tomorrow. The challenge comes when your child asks you dad what do you do.?

At the same time my escape abroad was a result of my wish for postgraduate studies outside of the Zimbabwean frames or reference. From the beginning of my studies I was convinced that my Masters programme should be abroad. Being a student and afterwards a graduate I always regarded the experience that one can get living abroad as of great importance, even if the final destination is Zimbabwe.. The number of things that you can learn from a year's stay abroad amount to more than ten years in any country you've been born in. And all these things follow you afterwards in your life and they change you for the better as a person. Having lived abroad you experience, see, hear, and get to know things that are not part of your country's reality: how the country, the cities, and the public transport are structured, how people interact with one another, what kind of habits they have, how they entertain themselves, how they think and other innumerable small information and details, which whether you want it or not force you in comparing them with what you've taken for granted so far. This is by no means a bad comparison, as it makes you reflect and think outside of what you've learnt your whole life.

Saviour Shava said," I graduated with an engineering degree from Zimbabwe did further studies in Engineering in the UK but the situation taught me to be humble, I now drive a lorry with all my degrees. if only our friends in Zimbabwe are to know that education is not only the key but it is indeed a humbling process our country will be miles away from what it is.

For me, my immigration abroad was always a matter of belonging. In Zimbabwe since I was young, even more after I started studying, I had a constant feeling of intolerance and 'must' surround me. I grew up calling our neighbours names, we had five Mozambicans working in our fields and two maids from Malawi. A foreigner had a name. Education was a class above classes; UK was a sobering situation said Gilbert Dumbura now working as a nurse.  You must act like a man, because this is what you are, you must not cry, you must love your country man even though you don't share a word with them, you have to be social, you must be human, you must, must, must. And if you don't fit into the box they moulded for you and you can't adjust to it, then there is no room for existence in the UK. You will die of stress and surely you will be stressed if you think high of yourself.
I remember my friend a medical doctor arrived from Zimbabwe full of pride in two weeks he was sorting letters at a local post office being supervised by his former maid who arrived in the UK early, what a humiliating but humbling situation. UK teaches you to love and be a better Christian.

John Dziva said that he was shocked with the selfishness he found back home in Zimbabwe when he went for holiday. Despite the fact that he was buying food fuelling cars giving people pocket money he was accosted for five dollars he asked from his brother who he gave six hundred dollars just for his own use. "I was depressed and deeply drained when I realised that people at home are more like animals than family,"

"With the love we fly around people in Diaspora amount of money we send home even to cousins, I was shocked when I went to burry my mother when I was given a bill of the money used to feed the mourners in my absence." mourned Rufaro a nurse in the UK. Despite the fact that Zimbabwe is home our brothers no longer look after each other.

"Later as the crisis intensified and became more visible and was felt more than ever, diaspora took on a more financial aspect. "As a graduate even if I had a Master's and a PhD degree I knew that in .Zimbabwe the chances of finding work in the field I am interested in are minimal, In UK I can have my own room and at the same time the state can on the one hand partially support me during my studies financially, and for that I decided to stay permanently. After all those I left home never care about me, if I go home sick they will throw me under a bus" Nigel Matura said.

Obviously immigrating is not something easy and in no case is it a treachery or a convenience against those who stayed (since we left for a richer country) as some believe and report in the public sphere. To leave the place where you were born and grew up in for something unknown and uncertain isn't that simple and for sure it needs much more strength and decisiveness than staying in your country, even if this country is crisis-stricken. You might not be able to find a job, you might hardly make ends meet or you might not be able to do otherwise but to stay with your parents, but you are never ever a stranger. The language that you speak is your language, you own and possess it and it expresses you. You can explain everything and saying ‘do you know what I mean?' is to be heard only sometimes, when you really lack the words for that. . ‘Do you know what I mean?' is not your daily life however, as when you are struggling with a language that is not yours, a language that is not a second nature. A language that in order for you to comprehend you have to constantly be alert and in order for you to learn it, you've spent money and time, since you didn't learn it like your mother tongue, as a child, naturally and self-evidently.
Diaspora at the very end is not just a matter of money It much more means education, awakening, reflecting, self-improvement, love. Because all these that you will experience abroad, you haven't experienced in your whole life. In no other way do your horizons expand, as with leaving your country.
Living abroad is not a shame, nor an act of treachery or a convenience. Nor is it full of misery or is it a compromise contributing to another (preferably western) country's wealth.  Living abroad means becoming a better, open-minded person. At the bottom line, living abroad means to blossom and indeed live for others, for you children and for your family. living abroad must not turn you into money machine where any broke uncle rings you for money and never for your health. Most of them never say thank you after they have received the money you send, the next call is to ask for more.

- Dr Masimba Mavaza


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