BY ANGRY KENYAN WOMAN IN ATLANTA
I have been in the US for over 20 years. The sentiment that follows that statement is so what? So, I can justify it by saying I have nearly seen and heard it “all.”
The one thing that gets me every single time is the sentiment and perspective that certain people hold about people living or working in America. I guess, if I start from the beginning it will make more sense.
Over the weekend I saw a social media post that was meant to stereotype and or belittle the work of people abroad. In a nutshell the post mocked people living abroad as doing manual jobs, wiping butts, unclogging sewers, taking care of dead bodies for pesky dollars and told them they would be better off in Kenya.
Fact check: Are morticians or technicians uncloging sewers a select reserve for Americans or is that a much needed trade and service for all people globally? Do we have people working in these sectors in Kenya? So is the poster objecting to people doing these trades in America where they are better paid for their services or do they prefer them to work in Kenya where they would make less money for their skills?
The 2nd point that the poster missed is that no one is in America/abroad against their will. People are in America or abroad have made their calculations to dertermine what works for them. There is always the option to come back home if venturing abroad is not working for you.
Finally, not everyone abroad is doing the manual jobs listed above. I must pause to categorically state there is nothing wrong with the stated jobs. Whatever puts food on the table legally, you got to do you. There is no shame in an honest days Job. Be proud that you are earning an honest living. That said, people come to America from all walks of life. I have seen people who sold uji in Kenya markets come to America do those odd jobs and be landlords in Kenya. Some of us may be renting from them. Do not despise those small beginnings. I have seen students do those odd jobs and work their way to owning businesses or be employed at the highest level of their careers getting top dollars.
I think sentiments like you “wipe butts, flip burgers, unclog sewers” are unfortunate and unnecessary stereotypes.
I came to America as a student. I worked my way to the top of my career and I am now head hunted by top companies in my field. So it rubs me the wrong way when I see people so narrow minded, that you think everyone abroad is struggling and doing slave labor. I do not. I work a comfortable 8 -5pm job and enjoy my weekends. Did I do odd jobs when I was a student? Heck yeah… but it was for a short while and now that I am working in my field I am reaping the benefits.
If you know you are going to ask or need money from anyone abroad, try not to be insulting about how you think they make their money. Better still, find out what people are doing so that you are not ignorant in your assumptions. We have people daring to venture abroad that are business owners, employing whites, blacks Latinos and everyone in between. We have Dr’s, nurses, accountants, Truck drivers etc. There are people living and thriving abroad without slave labor and they are here by choice. As long as anyone is making an honest living, respect their work or hustle. I rarely hear someone refer to your hustle when they need the dollars $$$ from you.
Venturing abroad or staying in Kenya is a personal choice. If your decision is to remain in Kenya God bless you, do you. However, do not mock those that decide to look for Greener pastures outside of Kenya. Different folks different strokes, tuheshimiane, let us respect other people’s hustles and educate ourselves on the many career paths for people abroad so that we speak from a point of knowledge not ignorance.