I question if I am allowed to share what I’m about to share here. I fear how my words will fly the moment I release them. But I was in need of a little rant so that I can come on-balance all over again. So please indulge me just a little while.
I don’t like to call myself an expat, because it has the connotation of glamour and easy (i.e. good) life. It is true that by most local standards, we live well. That means we live in a proper house, that comes with a generator, water storage and security guards. At least in this last house, the roof doesn’t leak and it is not congested with fleas.
But there’s nothing like Angola that tests your sense of inner balance and strength.
It is only every day that you are treated with half-respect because “You are Chinese”, “China bad products” or “China no good”.
It was only every other day that you have people catcalling you, saying how you steal their jobs and rob their country.
It was only every other week that the security guards say their family member is sick and in need of money.
It was only every other month that the drivers ask for a present when you go to supermarket to do your own groceries.
It was only every once in a while that a random guy touches you while you’re walking on the street or entering a store.
It was only that one time that a “friend” made a joke such as “an African mother telling her son no wonder his wife has a miscarriage because she is made in China!”
Life is tough as it is, so who would purposely choose to make it more difficult by going thousand miles away to a challenging place, far from family and friends?
.. to a place where if you return home unexpected, you found the maids or security guards or what have you lounging in your sofa or showering in your bathroom using your products?
.. to a place where it takes an average of 1-2 hours to pass the immigration and because of your “made in China” look, you are asked to step aside and let the others go first?
.. to a place where the security guards or maids or drivers asking you for money only to found out that s/he has asked for the same from your husband earlier in the day, giving the same exact reason, and was actually given the full amount he asked for?
It is true that we receive more salary than we would otherwise receive, should we choose to stay in our home country. It is true that we are considerably luckier than most people here. But it is also true that we have to remind ourselves of our goal every day and this is the price we have to pay, and that we will have stories to tell our grand children and that no one can preach to us what life in Africa really like.
And I just pray that when we are done, I am more than an empty soul void of humanity.