If you’re enmeshed in mediocrity, you just don’t know how mediocre it all is. This is a statement that keeps on playing in my mind while I am strolling in one of the many green parks in Copenhagen. It is quiet and serene out here. There are men and women jogging for fitness, mothers and fathers strolling their babies for fresh air, toddlers feeding the ducks by the lake and pensioners walking their dogs. This makes me think of our own Uhuru Park. The contrast. Things might have changed since I was there last year. However, last I checked, it was a ground for mediocre politics. A place where all the members of striking institutions gathered. A symbol of a failing nation. A religious ground . With all the activities that take place there, it is next to impossible to get it greener. Are there greener pastures in Europe? you ask.
Well, pastures may not be greener here in Europe, but are they greener back at home? At least there is potential of it growing here. I have interacted with a couple of foreigners. Africans included. People that have found opportunities in Europe. As much as some have been subdued by Europe, others have ventured through. It is about the right networks. Not the amount of money one has to buy the job. One of my friends living in Europe recently contacted me. When she first came here, she started as a baby sitter. I am actually thinking of being one right now, Bernie will have company to play with. Anyway, she loved it. Moreover, she used the opportunity to her advantage, to learn the foreign language that was her main barrier to integrating into the society. There was an opportunity to practice it.
The thing is, the country’s native language is key in Europe. It is what is spoken after all. Let’s call her J. J works her way through a first world country to become a dentist. When she stands to speak, her colleagues keep quiet and listen. She is Kenyan by the way. It might take longer than what one expected, but how do you know it could have been better back at home. In all honesty, some of her friends back in Nairobi are still working for some mean bosses who don’t blink when hollowing insults at them. To add salt to an injury, they under pay them. In fact, my friend called me today. She was on her way home after resigning from her job. She could not stand the boss who called her the ugliest names ever.
There is this other Kenyan we have talked with but never actually met. When she cleared her high school back at home, her parents could not afford the expensive college education. She therefore looked for small jobs which raised some money for her to buy a ticket to come and look for greener pastures. Luckily, she got a host family here. She had an agenda when she came here. A master plan. To achieve that which she couldn’t back at home. She patiently worked for a host family that kept on renewing her contract. Eventually, she joined the university which is by the way free here. More so she took her language classes seriously and by the time she was graduating she could speak danish like a pro. Needless to say, she was a member of several networking organisations. Consequently she secured a job in her field.
In as much as we would like to focus on racism and discrimination in Europe, it is much better to focus on the possibilities. On what is working. Perhaps we could share an idea or two with the Kenyan voters or even the voted. It is true we do not choose where we were born. However, we are the only ones responsible for our own lives. Our own authors and editors.Europe gives a choice. A choice to remain a cleaner or to see the cleaning job as a stepping stone. Europe does not suck the opportunities out of its youths. You know, like my youthful dad back in the day had to quit school for a year to get employed so that he could go back to finish. Us still being stuck in the 1970s is mediocre. In fact most of the African nations are. We are still at war.
See, in Europe, things move fast. In fact very fast. There is no opportunity to slack off. The first 2 to 3 years are hard, but be good and be best at it. Interact. My friend recently wrote this to me. I totally agree with her. It is possible to meet four of five interviewers who view the foreigners as their job takers, but there will be one who will believe in your potential. Just like it is back in Kenya. The only difference being one of the candidates knows someone on the panel. Here you sell yourself out. They like the ambitious type. In my previous meeting with my host, I learn’t that they like progressive people. Those that think forward, because it is allegedly rare to find such in most ‘immigrants’ oh I meant ‘foreigners.
Are there greener pastures in Europe? It is a tricky question to answer, especially for someone who has had over 20 job application regrets this year alone. However, the jobless person can choose to go to his doctor whenever they feel unwell,they barely go on strike here. Can you imagine my doctor striking on me? I have a choice of going back to school without worrying about school fees. Consequently, I have enjoyed a full year maternity leave to spend and get to know my son. Needless to say, there is minimal corruption. I have a broader kind of thinking too. I can go for a walk in a park with no worry of being mugged. Nevertheless, the public transport is orderly, safe and clean. Free from corruption and road carnage caused by petty competition and carelessness.
My point is, we all cannot relocate to Europe. However, we can water our grass back at home. This is not by sending our hard earned cash from abroad, but by making the right choices when choosing our leaders. Before we deep the thumb into the ink, think about who can steer the citizens to making the grass greener and who will contribute to its lifelessness. The leaders who will cause strife and strikes leading to the grass being tramped on costing it its life.