I would like to delve in this often uncomfortable conversation of diaspora remittances. We see reports on the news of how much money Kenyan’s abroad are sending to Kenya. Having lived here for several years, I understand very well the struggle and hard work that goes in to earning that money.
We see people on social media making fun of people living in diaspora ati because they work shitty jobs or they work all the time. The reality of the situation is, if a lot of us did not feel responsible to support family members back home, then we would not need to work so hard because most people can comfortably afford to live on one job if they only had to take care of themselves.
But the most painful aspect of this is a lot of people do not appreciate the little money you send them. You get texts and phone calls at all hours of the night asking for financial assistance but as soon as you send the money, you don’t even get a text back confirming they received the cash. You hear all types of stories about people taking out credit cards to help family members as they live here paycheck to paycheck trying to catch up with bills and their family at home is living big.
For the people living abroad, I think we need to start learning self-care and start prioritizing our physical and mental health. Working 3 jobs and never sleeping at home for an extended period of time will eventually catch up with you, which we are already experiencing with the rising number of suicide, addiction and violence issues.
As for our families back home, always remember to be appreciative of any help you are getting because someone is breaking their back to be able to help out. Always remember to check on your family members because they are human beings too, don’t just call or text when you need something. Everyone wants to feel loved and wanted by their family and no one wants to feel used. This place can be very lonely for some people and keeping connected to their family and friends at home can help us through those rough days.
Also remember the same way you hit financial hard times at home, we do too here. So it would be nice to know that we can also depend on our family members to help us get through those hard times, the same way we sometimes go above and beyond to help out too.
As always, we love to hear your feedback on our discussions.