Friday, November 21, 2014

Confused Strangers in Another Land

Some years ago I was looking for a rental apartment by Sheridan, and Kenmore Ave in Chicago Illinois not faraway from the beautiful lake shore drive. I believe l could still remember them well. So am also new, I have not learn much about the costume, the tradition of the country, let alone the rules and the regulation ensued by the land lords for their properties. For example as I was looking for the apartment, I came to a high rise building that has note posted by its doors window glasses, the note reads: "No pets, No children" says the note, to put it mildly I was astonished, stunned, I say, say what! No, No man I can'y believe this, What kind of crazy thing is this anyway? My friends don’t misunderstand; I understand about the animal’s behaviors perfectly but to dislike children that way no, no human being should do or say anything negative like that in any way or form about children.

But as I was still talking to myself, cursing what the F is this,something in my heart told me I should just quit searching for a apartment today,and go home, I put off the search for good. What kind of person is this person? again, I continued, I went home with displeasure, anger. I arrived at the apartment I overcrowded shared; I told my refugee friends, Can anyone of you believe what I just saw an hour ago? They say no but tell us please. Well I said, while I was looking for rental apartment, I came by this building,that seemed from outside a decent place to live in but contrarily what I found at the door was mind boggling. 

There was a note posted by the window as directive, it was from the building manager I supposed, I clear cut note written in plain English, readable understandable even for those of us who just came to the country recently. You will see the note posted by entrance window as you approached the building, it was about kind of people should live in their building, including No pets and No children, I say could anyone of you believe what I just said, And with no reply from the group I detected discomfort, Displeasure, also an agreement about the damn whole situation. Undoubtedly we all agreed that even from cultures where we came from some people cannot put up with pets; specially cats, and dog for that matter, other types of domesticated animals. In fact there are type of tribes in my country that do not know about cows, and goats, jungle people or people from forest country with no attachment to the domesticated animals. I know they dislike them too but not the meats.

But to say hateful thing about children; "God forbid", where would one live if one does something like permanently "disliking" barring children at anyplace? What part of our society would one go, be allowed to live free. Not in the Anyuak country. Never the other one in the group responded with dismay. The world is too small for such a person to accommodate, especially the Anyuakland another one interrupted. By the way what kind of land lord was that one? He must be crazy,out of mind we said, another person concluded he must have unstable mind. 

I said did all of you remember the other day when someone knocked our door, telling us to tone-down the noise, Yes yes, by the way what F is tone down?, I said well let me check my dictionary, I had one by me on the table. I opened the book, I checked for the meaning, it says,.. to put your voice, or sound down, Is that all one asked, I replied yes. Man that man came to us all the way from that corner to say just this "word" what a stupid a man can be, please, please my dear brother don't curse, I charged. Quickly I change the subject, I went back to what I was saying to them. Truly; I said how can someone hates children like that man did; he must be some stupid “M F”, we all rebuked him without hesitation, no one felt petty for the landlords who behaved like that one in America from us anymore.

But a few years later, I understood the crux of the matters behind those sanctions imposed by landlords on their premises in the Windy City of Chicago: they were about the unwanted excessive disturbances, by children, pets; crying, noising around; running loose in the buildings causing other tenants who go to work on second or third shifts restlessness, tired on their jobs. Now I am the one before everyone else who says; I don’t like it, please tone down, I don’t want it here, or there. Please remove it from here. I have replaced the words, how come, why with don’ts. I am acculturated, completely submerged up to my neck? with "individualism" as culture; voluntarily I obtained. Hey, friends; I am not a fan of sociologists, but I tend to agree with one thing with them as peopled grow older they tend to harbor conservatism; are more concern about the responsibility, accountability, peace, security, stability on life matters.

Just the other day, as I was walking to the grocery I saw two homeless couples walking by with loaded travel baggies packed on their backs with dogs, or rather two dogs I should say, I looked at them seriously, observed a lots of things about the wasted lives. I said to myself gracious! Why would a government allowed such people to own pets when they don’t take care of themselves, had no place to stay, These days my friends I also think men or women who have not been responsible in their lives should be allowed to have kids. Why should we the tax payers be forced through draconian laws to share their burden?

 I think these are mistake done by people involved knowing perfectly well society can just embraced their wrongful deeds without them being punished for their wrong behaviors. How can someone stay on welfare for 10 years, expected jobs deliverance? What can one expect from Welfare queen or king. The late president of the United States Mr. Roland Reagan once said what can one expect from welfare queen who drove around with a Cadillac car drawing hundred thousand dollars in very state she registered in, expect her to work. It cannot be specially when a country allowed wrong behaviors like to thrive.

 It was true then, now but people hated Ronald Reagan for saying what he said. He was accused of racism. But there is something just I do not understand about critics in America; oftentimes they are quick to jumping on the bandwagon of a ready fighting horse, blaming, accusing other of racism, instead of looking deep into what being said by their leaders. Reagan could be a racist but he was also our leader with responsibility for all. What he spoke about was not racism, It was about being responsible accountable for our lives. To understand him well one must look into the history of America, its system.

 I put it to you this way, America is the only country on earth where one would fit in regardless of social barriers preventing anyone from moving forward in life, Here one can become someone else if one work harder enough, one could make his/her dreams come true. It had a system that welcome who ever you are to participate in the building of this great society by working hard for yourselves. The system give you more incentive in any case you had difficulty in doing what you suppose to be doing for yourselves in the milking and honeying vastly provided wealth by the country.

A lots of refugees came here in the 90s. they were all from East Africa; where I came from, But prior to their arrival there were few East African expatriates residing in Minnesota. The arrival of huge number of them added the dimension of power demographically. It delighted us see our number increases.They were all from such countries as Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia. Unlike those of us who came here decades ago, with nobody to ask for information about the what about of the country, the  refugees who came here in the nineties were lucky one because they had us here already established in Minnesota. 

We had shown plenty, provided them with all available tools, including information about where to fish, where to not fish in the river, to paraphrase differently in the "lovely state of Minnesota", I could say many of them were happy to see us helping them, indeed it was our pleasure to helping them too. our meetings had encouraged many embarked on the journey to fulfilling American dream: job security, home for stability, lastly the pursuit of happiness, A substantial numbers of them have attended their dreams. But few not many are still locked up to welfare system, did not tried hard enough to break up the cycle of dependency. The American dreams they had dreamed about while in the refugee camps are still lingering in their heads unfulfilled, without results, They have done nothing to improve themselves, were still trapped in the continuous cycle of dreams.They fell to understand that a dream is just a dream, not an actual reality.


Daniel Ojulu said...

Yes, you are not alone. Disillusion caused by cultural shock is common among refugees who come to this modern world. I myself had problem with the way people dresses in summer, especially skeletons on T-shirts and tattoos.

Ajumhara said...

Thank you Daniel, point taken, if you want read more about about cultural shock, read Allen Toffler, a book he wrote in the 1980s, still being used in all the Universities in America. Yes me I had difficulty in my first year in the US eating hot dog. I thought of dog meat, when they say what do want, do you want hot dog, that is it, I am out, without food in my hand. it was later I was told that hot dog is not dog's meat, but pork meat, I begin to enjoy it.

Daniel Ojulu said...

That’s it; it is enough! I mirth till tear clouded my eyes in the room alone while reading about hot dog thing. This article means a lots. I hope our people in diaspora especially new comers will learn from it. From my experience there are a lot to talk about when we get together. I hope God will allow us one. Yeah, skeleton tattoos, skeletons marks on T-shirt , weirdoes with weird hair style, added up with death and shooting headline news, it happened to me to think this is not safe world to live in, until I realized that it is the same as the world I come from where there are thugs, thieves, and all kinds of criminals. What makes it different is technology ensued from hard word. Yeah, I will the book. It is good you pointed out.

Ajumhara said...

Bravo Daniel, all that why I dedcated myself to writing so that can enjoy reading stories about our lives, others. It is also a forum where we can discuss, like we are doing, chat about some issues. I encourage others to join us on the discussion board, I am looking forward too. there is no time to waste, we got to use all we got to share information with our brothers, sisters.

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