Dreams are shaped by morals and families, they are shaped by the beliefs we grasp so strongly. I remember, when I was a kid, thinking my brother was my father and never knowing my mom. As I grew up, I became aware that he is not my father. He continuously advised that I can change my life for better without going anywhere else.
What was his motive for saying that? It was because he carried the burden of parenthood. The so-called better life, which could be gained by migrating to the Western world, was preached so hard for a generation in Africa. I can surely speak about Ethiopia, because in seeking a better life for me and my brothers and sisters, my father fled to Canada when I was 3. I never had a chance to know him, or to even see him once; he died there of liver cancer. My mother also left, after him, to Europe, where she was for the last 18 years. She has now come back home without any earnings. They spent every penny they saved on trying to bring us there, without success. We grew up out of her sight; the better life she worked and hoped for has passed without her being present. After 18 years she came home and she found not sons and daughters but parentless kids. We were without attachment in many ways, especially me as the last child of the family; I was left when I most needed parents. I didn’t know how to act or connect with my mother. In the process of collecting money they dispersed a family. What they did might not be wrong in itself, it’s just that they chose a wrong path.
I was clay and my brother was the potter of my life. He shaped me to become a hard worker. The rest of my social life has taught me to care for those in need and to see the world through the eyes of others. With these forces I grew up to be socially responsible both at home, at church and through the Green Club of Ethiopia. I become part of GEN and right after that came the opportunity to go to Tamera. At that point my brother’s greatest fear was that I might chase those wrong, false, deceptive dreams of our parents’ failed path. But against all the odds, I returned and he was happy.
Why did I return home? Why would I not return home? It’s home! That is where my heart is. A loving family, so many close friends, relatives. I value social life, I value community and being part of Terra Nova reveals another realm of life to me. On top of all that I gained a bachelor degree in Computer Engineering, graduating with a high score. I am involved in a lot of projects and hold on to a dream of opening my own computer company.
For some people in Ethiopia these might seem crazily funny reasons to come back home, because I live in a country, where millions of its citizens have dispersed over the world and are living abroad as immigrants. In 2015 around 160,600 immigrant workers were chased back from Saudi Arabia, embarrassingly for no reason. In South Africa this year xenophobia broke out against Ethiopians; around 23 immigrants were burned with a car tire around their neck. They were chopped into pieces. Recently 30 innocent immigrants were slaughtered in front of the world by ISIS while trying to reach Italy through Libya; among those immigrants close to 40% were university or higher learning graduates. 20% of them paid illegal brokers between $2,000 and $5,000 to get away. What I am trying to show here is that migration is not only the pursuit of a better life, or a matter of survival; for many it has become a fashion.
So to some, I as a person who fundraised to pay for my flight ticket, who went to Europe almost free of charge, and returned, am an insane joke! But for me one of the most important things in the world is to be a societal being. I don’t want to live in a world of individualism. Most of all as a person growing up in a church I respect my spiritual values, I don’t want to lie. “I shall know the truth and the truth shall set me free”. I have so many friends who, in the asylum-seeking process, to be accepted or get a work permit, have submitted so many fake documents, wear masks, become who they are not, take new names, make up new stories, take new identities, deny their true selves. It totally disgusts my soul! To go through all this! My hope rests on my own hands, I am a hard worker and I understood life is about serving others – it’s not always about getting served. I want to serve my community, I want to help, I don’t want to be helped and start my life from zero. I am somebody here, I don’t want to start life from being nobody, that is why I return.
Sometime ago I attended a church where the priest was preaching about the Golden Rule which is “one should treat others the way you would like others to treat you.” Since then I stick to this ideology. Today I base all my actions around it and I believe that I will live this idea in full with the help of almighty God; I believe he will help me because I believed in him. As it is stated in the Bible “we walked by faith not by sight”. So I will see what I believed.
The future that I dream of will become firm reality as I come closer to the faith of God and those who love me. I will not change my mind in this mission as long as God and good people are with me to inspire and motivate.
2nd Corinthians 5:7
“We walked by faith not by sight”
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.