The million dollar question isn’t it? It’s probably been at some point if the journey that is your life has landed you thousands of miles away from the place you call home. The question seems to be du jour among Africans young and old living in the US and Europe. Many of us have left our homeland for various reasons, education and voluntary emigration being the most common (just a guess, calm down). Whatever your reasons or circumstances for leaving, I’m pretty sure you’ve contemplated after a while living permanently in the West (if it wasn’t your initial intent to begin with). Sure you can give me a myriad of reasons why life in the West is preferable to life home but amid some positive changes that are taking place throughout Africa, I believe we must consider the possibility of going back to make our contribution. For too long I’ve been hearing from people and reading around the African blogosphere criticism of African countries, their leaders and what have you. Those are the same people who have been living comfortably in the States for 20 – 30 years, what example is that? John Mayer in his song “Waiting on the world to change” puts it perfectly:
Now see everything that’s going wrong
With the world and those who lead it
We just feel like we don’t have the means
To rise above and beat it
So we keep waiting
Waiting on the world to change
Even the younger generation – my generation – is turning into what in my opinion are cowards (yes including myself). We keep talking and suggesting solutions to problems and innovative ideas but who is to implement those? People back home sure, but it’s not to say that we can’t lend a helping hand. I’ve read somewhere (sorry I don’t remember the site) some guy say that “ideas are like a** holes, everyone has them”, however the only thing that matters, and that will be remembered is the action taken to implement the damn thing and bringing it to fruition.
Now we all have our reservation toward going back, we don’t know what to expect or just fear to leave the western lifestyle to which we have been accustomed for so long. I remember finding myself in a similar position when my father decided to call my brother and I from France in 94. Needless to say, the thought of going back to the Third World scared me s***less! That meant no more of my favorite TV shows or fancy food etc. Sure enough life wasn’t all that wonderful in Gabon but I don’t regret any second of it! I believe my experiences in Africa, good as well as bad helped me become the person I am today: I have an unshakeable optimistic perspective in life and I believe in Africa. Come to think of it, life wasn’t all that glamorous in Europe anyhow. I think that many of us are more infatuated with the idea of life in the West (the glam and hype) rather than the thing itself because you know deep inside that in spite of the opportunities etc. that the quality of life isn’t that much better in the West than anywhere else.
If you decide to no longer be a coward and go back one day (I hope to go make money, yes I said make money there within 5 years, God willing :-)) then fine, I commend your courage. It is also fine not to go back, as the decision is personal of course but there are always plenty of other ways to participate in the African revolution such as supporting a foundation, charity, investing in some projects etc. If we don’t contribute and keep writing lengthy blog entries (can you tell I’m laughing?) or what have you about what Africa should be instead of taking action, then we’re just a bunch of hypocrites “waiting on the world (Africa) to change” itself, while we watch from a distance. Ok now let me go listen to some more John Mayer.