The experience of coming home


BEING abroad is a great way to network professionally and develop a better understanding of different countries as well as their cultures.
While the experience abroad is worthwhile, for some, coming back home may be stressful.
The feeling of being a foreigner in your own land is the worst kind of alienation that one may feel.
It gets worse when you are treated like a snob; it is heart rending.
A typical example is the case of one Peter Mukomberanwa.
Mukomberanwa had just finished his PHD in the UK and his visa was not extended.
He narrated his ordeal when he returned home.
“When I got to Harare, I was searched from top to bottom — nothing wrong with that — but it was the manner in which I was searched and the language used. I felt like a criminal, not a patriotic citizen of my nation. I did not know what wrong I had done. I had simply said I was a returning resident, do I have any exemptions?”
Farai Takaendesa lamented the day he attended his brother’s funeral: “The inhumane treatment exhibited by the mourners was horrible; that was not the Zimbabwe I knew. A group of guys came in a kombi; they snatched my brother’s coffin from the hearse and placed it on the roof of the kombi. They started speeding around, honking and shouting. Respect for the dead, it seemed, evaporated in the few years I have been out of the country. They told me that my brother was a kombi driver, so, that was the new way of paying their last respects.”
Taurai Midzi reflected positively on his returning-home experience.
“I loved my experience abroad and after coming back home, I realised how much I had changed, and the world isn’t as scary as I thought. Being abroad made me want to continue travelling and experiencing more cultures.”
Talking of jet-leg when you arrive home results in people looking at you like you are a show-off.
If you complain about the taste of food, nobody takes you seriously. Many assume you are just being difficult for no good reason.
These things, and poor treatment, results in some returnees getting depressed.
Many end up feeling they made a mistake in coming back home.
Every individual in the Diaspora dreams of coming back home one day.
And people must bear, especially with children born abroad who come back home for the first time as adults.
These people want to meet all their relatives, they want to go kumusha, they want to taste the food of their people, they are curious about almost everything and this curiosity must not be interpreted for snobbish behaviour.
In their broken local languages, they are really trying hard to connect with their people.
More than anything, they love their country.
Some of the children have returned home of their own volition, on their own, without their parents, just to connect with their people.
We must embrace these returnees and make their stay in the country a pleasant experience.
We must not be quick to get angry or offended by some of the behaviours they exhibit, some are in the country for the first time, but they are still Zimbabweans.
Normal things such as doing laundry, dishes and cooking habits are totally different; back home we do it differently, let our returnees, those home for the first time, be eased into these activities.
While we are part of the global village and up-to-date with technologies, we must concede things such as dishwashers are not a common phenomenon in many of our homes, but abroad these are part and parcel of every kitchen.
No Diasporan despises the motherland; each and every one of us dreams of that day when we can return home to stay.
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