How not to be the Dreadful Bushfaller/Returnee
Given the comment someone inboxed me I may have written too much on bushfallers already. Bear with me. These are my musings and for the moment at least I’m around that group a lot. Don’t worry I’ll be home soon J
That said, though I had already put up the blog post for this month, my recent engagements have left me musing on those who return home after “falling bush”. We tend to love our bushfallers, they send us Moneygram and Western Union numbers, and they come home with boxes of shoes and clothes for Christmas. Some of them actually call and keep updated with our lives. Yep, this nation’s bushfallers do more than the government does. But a lot of times, when they come home we do not like our bushfallers (yes, you can love someone and not like them/their presence at the same time). You see when they return home our Bushfallers are often very different, they have changed. Some change is good; the ideas they have for development, the zeal they have for making money (Oye Capitalism!), their dismantling of oppressive cultures and stereotypes, their open-mindedness and more tolerant personalities… there’s a lot of good change. But several bad changes as well. Here’s a tongue-in-cheek list of the do’s and don’ts to avoid being the THAT dreadful returnee/bushfaller we all know and would prefer to love from a distance.
1. Do not stay out of the country so long you forget what it feels like to carry water for long distances. Do not forget the normality of it nor the pride in it. Of course its pipe borne but the fact that the pipe doesn’t meet you in the comfort of your room should be okay.
2. On the same note. Do not forget the regularity of power outage. You should expect it. Don’t get me wrong, we need not accept it, we can grumble, advocate for better (strike at our own risk), petition the companies responsible. We need not accept it but it shouldn’t surprise us, because we should know in many parts of our own country some communities do not have electric lines at all. They don’t know what “lights off” is.
3. Do not stay out so long you forget the basic etiquette. The greeting your elders, the wishing of “good morning” even if the day is looking far from good… and of course the things not to ask your mother:
4. Do not remember that you drank the water in this country a year before. You did not die then, you will not die now. Considering that the water is pipe borne and you are fortunate enough that your family home has a filter, do not insist on “bottled water”. All our water is bottled by the way, we recycle like that.
5. Do remember what you used to do when you did not have an iPad, iPod, laptop or internet. Please do that when you go to the village or when the power cuts. Of course this does not apply to bushfallers alone. We could all do with that lesson.
6. Please remember when introducing yourself to give both your names. Do not get some innocent child in trouble because you gave them only your first name to call you by. You know their mama will slap their mother for calling “a whole bushfaller like you just John”
7. If you feel the need to use any profanities? Kindly use the ones your dialect offers. Somehow it is better to be cursed in your language than the “whitemans”. Besides a “Nyamfuka” said in an appropriately derogatory tone is just as effective as a “fuck you”.
8. Do not stay out so long that you begin to believe and repeat the western media lies and misrepresentation of your own people. Remember that you have been going to Alhadji’s house every “Fete de Ramadan” stop looking at his first son like pinup boy for terrorist daily. Also remember that you came from that country if it was disease ridden, insect infested, beggarly etc you would be too
9. Please endeavor to refrain from constant grumbling about “What is wrong with this country” and keep the “this is why I can’t live in Cameroon” to the bare minimum. Unless you are contributing in some way to changing things, your grumblings is a scratching sound messing up the music playing. Besides, we all know the real reason you can’t live in Cameroon…
10. If you forget all else, do not forget this: Do not forget why you left the country. Do not get so caught up in the rat race that you forget the dreams you had that could not be fulfilled at that time in your country, the desire for those dreams that made you leave in the first place. Keep checking, maybe those dreams are realizable back home now. But if you aren’t living those dreams in whatever country you ended up in, do not forget the way you felt so strongly about those dreams you gave up all you had for the chance to go get what you needed to fulfill them. If you have gotten what you needed, then come home. Do not forget where home is and why.