Overseas - Mariska Taylor-Darko

From an early age we hear the phrase,
"When you grow up you should do well
and then you could go overseas."

What is this overseas that we hear so much about?
Those who come from there seem to have so much money to spend,
they buy cars and build houses,
but, in the end, do they tell the truth about this overseas?

From morning to night, if you are lucky,
you get to work like a stupid monkey,
you are at their beck and call,
afraid of losing that bad job at all,
because the next one would be harder to get
because your skin is not the right shade, or your
words don't sound right or you just don't fit.

No time to rest, no time to play,
no time to see your children,
no time
no money to send, but you do it anyway,
after all what would your friends and family say?

You are lucky, You have a permit,
hell is for those who don't,
dodging police, and sleeping on friend's floors,
when there are guests around you are sent outdoors.
Finding all means to marry a woman to stay,
a woman who will make hell a better place to be.

After many years when you finally get settled,
someone dear to you dies over the seas from where you came,
you take a bank loan; make the trip, and come back home,
and the cycle starts again.

They think you are rich, you pay the bills,
you smile and laugh but you know the
hell you will go back to when the plane lands
overseas.

The bills are waiting for you,
the debt collector is on your door,
a delayed plane means no job.
You owe more than when you came
and yet people here look with envy.
When you fly away on a plane,
to the place of their dreams…..
overseas.

10 comments:

Prince Mensah said...

Mariska,

I totally appreciate your poem. You tackled the issue of financial stress on the expatriate African extremely well. I think this is the finest poetry I have read so far on this issue. It exudes the expectations of family members at home and the expectations that one has to keep up. This complete analysis of both sides of the coin merits a deeper discussion. I look forward to that this week.

Emmanuel Sigauke said...

Good poem, Mariska. Finally, someone has dealt with this subject openly; sometimes, relatives back home end up enjoying the fruits of the hard work more than the "ones" overseas, thanks to the exchange rates. But the family instinct somehow says, "That's okay."

Emmanuel Sigauke said...

Prince,
You beat me in posting a comment at OGOV! The same thing happened again last week. It's all good. I agree with you that Mariska exposed a topic we tend to ignore as writers, I think sometimes we become so busy living the life that we ignore it as a subject of our art.

Prince Mensah said...

Emmanuel,

I could not keep my fingers away from the keyboard after I read Mariska's fascinating poem. Well, I guess I am ahead of you by 3 hours. Eastern versus Pacific. Let us see how deep we can analyze this splendid poetry.

Prince

Elena said...

Finally, the new installment! And it was well worth the wait - Mariska, this poem is wonderful, as it tells the utter truth. "From morning to night..." and on and on it goes, the life of the expat. Hopeful he comes, facing the long queue at the immigration office with bravery. But the queue goes on and on and on, and he has to see it through again and again. Every month, for every permit, fear takes over: Will he be allowed to work? Will he be allowed to stay? Or will they push him away?

Anonymous said...

The black mans burden?-All that glitters is not Ashanti gold.Caught, abandoned,confused,stranded,without a security net --family, church--between 2 cultures.Great expectations from back home, in Europe with a completely different social signal system.Tha black man is often at the bottom of the European ladder not going up--is it worth it?

Anonymous said...

IM back--Zilverzorro--often not included in the welfare system,sickness benefits--not on the housing list.
As a practising psychiatrist--in Stockholm,with English as my native tongue,I often meet and treat-dazed amazed--lost in European--space Africans.i try-to understand and piece together broken souls and broken dreams

Anonymous said...

im back zilver zorro--Lost in space without --roots,church,family--welcome,in some cases to Mars,
Are they victims of inverted--economic--imperialism--this,I feel,is a big fat juicey--round tablr topic--and as a pinke--Iwouls love to participate.

Anonymous said...

im back zilver zorro--Lost in space without --roots,church,family--welcome,in some cases to Mars,
Are they victims of inverted--economic--imperialism--this,I feel,is a big fat juicey--round tablr topic--and as a pinke--Iwouls love to participate.

Anonymous said...

oops --Zilver Zorro-my comments should be read as such
1--the black mans burden?
2--not often included in
3--lost in space
these comments are intened to belong to each other--as a forum for chawing da fat ---thanks