Why your 'stingy' cousin abroad has forgotten you.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

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Remember that uncle/cousin/niece (let's call them 'Cousin') who we were excited when they came with their news of having gotten visa to relocate ‘abroad’?

(Note that in our parlance, ‘abroad’ (a.k.a ‘the abroad’) could range from as distant as Iceland, to as near as Cameroon down the road. In this case however, ‘abroad’ signifies obodo-oyinbo)

So we rejoiced with them when they announced they were travelling to a foreign land (over)flowing with milk and honey, in search of greener pastures,.

We danced for them. We prayed for them. We maybe even contributed our relatives-mite to the purchase of their ticket and their adventurous sojourn.

We never ceased to seize any opportunity to ‘drop’ casually to our friends that our cousin was now abroad. After all, in little or no time, the dividend(s) of their relocating - in the form of chocolates, shoes, phones, laptops and even cars - would begin to trickle in.

Our status had changed. We were now related to an ‘abrodian’.

***

The weeks turned to months. The months, to years. Years, to decades.

No chocolates.

No foreign shoes.

No Phones.

No laptops.

No cars cleared from the port.

No word from Cousin.

But for reported sightings here and there, and (maybe) occasional pictures on Facebook of him in hooded coats, usually captioned “the boss-man-dawg of the Streetz”, Cousin may as well be dead to us.

S/He never sent a dime. S/he never sends a word. Your facebook to them is request is likely to have expired in oblivion.
The daily murmurs graduate to grumbles, and eventually, become full-outright curses of cousin’s “wickedness” in forgetting us, and not even sending a ten-dollar note, for our street people to see us entering bus to convert at the bureau-de-change.

“Cousin is a wicked and stingy person”, we rail. “S/he has forgotten us”, we lament.

Eventually… cousin fades into bitter nothingness. An echo to be remembered with a grimace and a muttered “Hmmmm”… whenever their name is mentioned.

Cousin has failed us.

***

A lot of us are all too familiar with this narrative, or similar narratives - with varying variations. The cousin, the aunt, the uncle, the brother, the nephew, the sister who relocated to a foreign country, blessed with riches, and has now ignored us.

Are you interested in the alternative reality of why your cousin is “stingy” and/or has “forgotten everyone at home?”

Well…

1. Money is not found trees. Especially not abroad

So the impression we have (maybe sometimes wrongly peddled by others who had “made it”) is that the streets of obodo-oyinbo are paved in gold.

Wealth is sitting at every corner, for the taking. Right?

The harsh reality is that life abroad is probably as hard (if not harder) than it is at home. Maybe basic amenities as electricity, water, pothole-less roads are readily available. But there would first be the need for Cousin to find their feet and “settle in” – which could take from as short as two years to ten years. (By which time we would have given up on them)

The case is exacerbated if they were members of highly-regulated professions such as Law or Medicine, in which case they would have to write tons of exams before qualifying to practice over there. Thus, the bulk of their finance would be channeled into career advancement, and the kobo-kobo left would be for keeping body and soul together. Settling in may be a continuous process, for a rather long time.

The sad truth is that Cousin could just be having a hard time with money. After all, there are poor people abroad. There are even homeless people abroad.

2. Illegal status

Could Cousin’s papers have expired, and Cousin have gone into hiding to avoid being deported? Surely, the last thing that would be on the mind of a person on the run from the law would be assuaging your “my relative is in the overseas” ego?

Do not be shocked: a large number of our ‘cousins’ who live abroad do not have the appropriate immigration papers to do same. This hampers one’s ability to obtain good-paying jobs, and/or be able to send some finance to their loved ones back at home.

So don’t be too hard on Cousin. She could be on the run.

3. You’re just not a good enough investment

Something about having to survive on the streets of a foreign land makes all sheepishness of wasteful money-spending disappear. Even without basic formal knowledge of Economics, you become an inherently frugal person.

Pros and Cons are weighed gravely, before any cent is spent. Opportunity cost becomes a reality, as against an abstract term coined by Karl Max, or some other demand-and-supply nerdo.

Bills must be paid. Food must be bought. Every money-spending decision boils down to value.

For example, Cousin would be more inclined to assisting you with finance to pay application fees for graduate studies abroad, than to send money for the latest play-station game, or just because “my cousin lives in the abroad”.

Why? Because furthering your education is an investment with some expectation to yield fruit.

So if you get an opportunity to request help of Cousin, make it count. Imagine it was Uncle Dangote you were making your request to. Would he give you a blank cheque, or set his Alsatians on you upon your request??

(You get the point?)

4. Your entitlement mentality really sucks

So maybe you really could make good use of Cousin’s help. Maybe Cousin has a good flow of income, and has no problems with her papers. Sometimes however, the attitude is what negates the willingness (if any) to give. That vibe that your you are ‘entitled’ to your pie of Cousin’s booty. (No pun intended)

And truth be told, it is a poison a large number of us have drunk from: the same entitlement mentality that makes us repeat “Happy Weekend Sir”, like broken parrots. We are ‘entitled’ to be tipped. We are ‘entitled’ to be dashed Madam’s shoes. And because we are Cousin’s cousin, we are (naturally) ‘entitled’ to being ‘helped’ by Cousin.

One thing the streets of ‘the abroad’ teaches is that no one is ‘entitled’ to anything. You work for whatever you get.

Ok, maybe you are entitled to some things. Like life. And freedom of speech. And freedom of expression, et al. (These are fundamental rights… duuh!)

Cousin’s resources are NOT your fundamental rights. You are not ENTITLED to their resources. Hence, you cannot be attitudinal about your expectations from Cousin.

This is a huge turn-off, and I have seen some ‘abrodians’ who do little for their people back home, simply because of the entitlement vibe they have gotten from the folks back home.

Next time Cousin ignores your requests, check your attitude.

5. Maybe Cousin really is stingy??

Maybe s/he really is all those wicked things you’ve imagined they are:
Wealthy. Stingy. Selfish. Ungiving. Unkind. Forgotten about you.

Well… life is a pot of beans. What can you do?

Nothing.

Except work hard, earn YOUR own living, and stop obsessing about your “rich cousin in the abroad”.

(You’re welcome 😉)

Paz,


Meg.


P.s.: Quan just might be my stingy cousin living in the abroad.


Photo-Credits: Rich Homie Quan

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13 comments

  1. But cousin is in the abroad naaaa. ..... how else can we do "ntoiii" to our wicked neighbour that has been Shakaraing us all this years???

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  2. So true. Nice piece dear. You never cease to amaze me with your writing. Thumbs up

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  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  4. The piece really covered most of the reasons abrodians rarely send goodies home. Point four stressed the key points. I love these lines,
    "One thing the streets of ‘the abroad’ teaches is that no one is ‘entitled’ to anything. You work for whatever you get."

    Another point worth mentioning is the fear that some of the abrodians may already be in detention. Keep your mind coming. Thanks

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  5. Nice piece!!!!! Chronicles of living abroad.. If only they would understand

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  6. So my cousin didn't know all these things might happen when he was going to the abroad and promised to be sending us money and everything. 15 years down the line, no show. Only thing to show is the 2 children his oyibo wife birth for him.

    ReplyDelete