Relocating – Living abroad 2

Relocating – Living abroad 2

Some persons at the airport

In an earlier article, ‘Relocating’ has been made to seem all-positive and hunky-dory. Several years had gone into strategic and careful planning resulting in the acquisition of a good expatriate package before the journey to be in another’s land from home had begun.

Reasons for relocating may vary, and primarily be spread across the ‘seeking- a-better- life’ spectrum; a better life in a less stressful economic climate, a better life from political and environmental turmoil as in fleeing from wars, famine and diseases; a better life from political, religious and social persecution.

A common denominator in all these is the need to move from where one would usually call home, with set aims and objectives to be achieved in the place of re­location. These reasons are valid in their own rights, in my opinion the people who undertake a relocation are entitled to go wherever in their estimation, their ‘better-life’ will be found.

An observation of ‘Relocators’ brings to the fore two types – those who secure a fair certainty of their lives away from the homeland in terms of acquiring job contracts to those who leave on promises of securing jobs. Outside this bracket are those who leave without any certainty of a contractual source of livelihood; not even a promise. Those who flee war and unsavoury environments, be it for life, health, religion or social reasons are placed on the furthest end of this ‘seeking-a-better-life’ spec­trum as no choice is given them really.

The kind of preparation for the first-two types mentioned above are as interesting as they may be varied. For both, years of prepara­tions go into waiting for the most opportune time to take off.

Some preparations apart from the acquisition of knowledge and skills that will be needed for jobs in the new destination, entail a meticulous contact of a network of ‘Agents’ and several individuals, each in competitive businesses en­suring that ‘Relocators’ are assist­ed in landing in their notion of the ‘Promised Land.’

Sums of money involved in these transactions are eye-watering; not to mention other prepara­tions such as being spiritually, often traditionally as well fortified for such take-offs.

The means of travel is equally diverse. To most citizenry of the ‘Relocators’ home-land, the obvious means of getting to ‘Abrokyire’- the land of the beyond is by air.

However, for various rea­sons known to the ‘Agents’ of some ‘Relocators’ any means of travel, such as sea, land and rail may conclude the ‘Relocating package’ for their clients.

Is it not indeed whispered that travel on camels’ backs, treks in desserts, bushlands; other such may be resorted to should the need so arise during the course of the ‘Relocator’s journey (?)

As if these unusual means of getting away to far-away lands is not disconcerting enough to the average citizenry, some may well arrive in the ‘Promised Land’ such as the UK, U.S.A. or Germany; parts of the Middle East, the Down Under without having had personal involvements at all with visa proto ­cols demanded of them from these countries. All such arrangements having been paid for and left in the able hands of ‘Agents.’

So it was that with the above thoughts forming the background of my research in preparation for completing Re-Locating 2, the top­ic of a Public Lecture at Gresham College, London caught my atten­tion:

The Human Cost of Immigra­tion Detention.

As I sat listening to Dr. Greg Constantine who had taken it upon himself to delve into the lives of people who had had the blunt side of seeking the better life most people relocating sought, the direction of Relocating 2 changed. I realised it would serve a better purpose to open a window through this Part 2 into some of Dr. Greg Constantine’s findings.

For some, the months and years of preparation does not yield the desired results of a good change in economic and other environmental conditions. They land in Immi­gration Detention Centres-a far cry from the vision of the better lives for which they had prepared themselves, and often times their families.

These Detention Camps were shown in pictures of grey walls spread in desserts, near airports; indeed everywhere-some close enough and within vision of the people in the Promised Land, yet hidden in the view of their busy, bustling lives! In these camps, begin an agonising several months, years, decades; ‘processing’ of their documents-legal or illegal, within which time, the clock ticks unbearably slow. Some lucky ones do enter the Promised Land but get immediately abandoned by their ‘Agents’ leaving them to a blind navigation to their vision of a better life.

My mind wandered to the in ­famous ‘Boat People’ who get to Europe on dinghies on open seas to France and Britain mainly, some of whom do not ever set foot on solid ground and become mere statistics archived for purposes such as had led me to sit in a lecture hall that Tuesday evening in March 2024.

Indeed, by March 27, 2024 4644 ‘Boat People’ had crossed the English Channel into the UK. This report on Sky News did not give a figure of how many ‘Boat people’ had not made it to dry land.

I wondered also, what could make groups of people with the same objective of seeking a better life find themselves aligned so dif ­ferently on the ‘Relocating Goals/ Success Spectrum.’

The difficulty with my thoughts lay in my inability to arrive at rea­sons for their predicament with ­out having any sense of personal guilt…they like me have the right to seek a better life; they like me have also researched their destina­tions; their routes on camel backs; dinghies inclusive.

Indeed, most of them in ad­dition to our common modes of preparation had coughed out colossal sums of money I can only dream of to ‘Agents’ as an addi­tional inclusion to their ‘Reloca­tion’ package.

My pondering continues and though I am not concluded yet, all indications point to a failure of a system both in the homelands of relocators and the Promised Land to which their aspirations lay. What kind of system begets citi­zens desperate enough to want to undertake the crossing of high seas on dinghies, children and babies in tow? Worst still, what kind of system locks such seekers of a Promised Land up in ‘Detention Camps’ of sorts after survival of such traumatic journeys? Where, oh where is humanity?

Alas! My pondering contin­ues…….

By Dzigbordi B-A

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