Life as an Expatriate
Pack your bags, grab your mind and get ready to meet the world and most importantly to help the less priviledged. I started my journey in 2018 and the urge to quit at the Harare airport was so big. Its been a journey this far, a mixture of feelings. To an outsider (at least per my experience), my status means "money", to my colleagues it seems "just prestige but no results", what about to myself? I will explain a bit
It means leaving behind my family and asking myself several times if I am normal, if I am a good mother, if I am already starting to go a mental case. It involves a lot of discussion with my small children on why I leave them behind. It means a lot of tears some unseen. I am an expatriate together with the family I leave behind - we experience pain but we love each other to say "mum go and work and be happy and when you come back you will find us waiting" and " kids be good to my sister and remember mum loves you and when she comes back you will get a small holiday". It often sounds like a bribe :)
It means arriving in a new place , meet new friends, experience new culture and dive into it. It means creating my second, maybe it becomes first home I am not sure. It also means bonding with people and suddenly they leave (one can be lucky if they meet again with the good people). I have met good people and may never see them again - painful.
It means often being in a big room or apartment all by oneself and not sure what else to do - there is often a lot of alcohol abuse in the name of socializing - covering up some gap.
It means spending so much time trying to understand a context, creating professional relationships and often leaving at a time results were almost materializing ( whether there will be continuity, heaven knows - maybe next expat follows same cycle as well) - Vicious!
It means receiving bad news of your father having been involved in an accident and first thing coming to mind is that maybe he is dead - how heartbreaking. In some cases it means close family members die and you ain't there to see them - and to stay positive some graduate.....list is long
Most of the friends I have made by the way, just like me do not completely seem normal - its as if we are running away from something unknown, but we love what we do anyhow. The stressful work drives us nuts but also carries the day.
This far I have enjoyed South Sudan, Nigeria, Malawi (take me back to Malawi) and currently Sudan. Such an adventure, such a story, such changing of lives (inshallah), such pain too and indeed some good money as expected. If you ask me whether I will continue on this path, I don't know, but my pillar is the solid family support , especially my sister who cares for my babies. The experience is painfully humbling and has made me open minded much more. If this helps, join us - not always easy to get a mission, a good one, but why not tryyyyyyyyyyy.