I don’t know if I should call myself an expat or repat.
An expat is a person who is residing in a country not of their citizenship.
A repat is someone who returns to their country of birth or citizenship.
To understand my conundrum is another story, possibly for another day.
But regardless of my status, I’ve had access;
I’ve had access to the elite, the growing middle class and the working class in Accra.
The titles/classism is hyper-generalised but important for the sake of discussion.
You see, a lot of young professionals are “going home” and some of those professionals find themselves in Ghana.
We spend days, months and years discussing the frustrations and limitations of our motherlands and occasionally travel to relieve ourselves from the pressures of the environment we chose to return to.
Many of us return to the continent, Africa, to make a difference in our communities.
Some may also want to be the “big fish in a small pond”.
Our classifications differ, and our motives may as well, but one thing I’ve noticed is we are often entitled – and many do not realise it at all.
- Who are we to demand a structure without offering to build it?
- Who are we to complain when the people we swore we were coming “home” to “protect” are the real victims?
I remember when “dum sor” was terrible and a network I’m in decided to draft a petition. We started a Google document and bounced ideas off of each other. One day, after returning from my escape to lick my wounds in America, I returned to the network and asked how we would voice our concerns over the energy crisis.
I received not one reply.
Dum sor had been “fixed” so the cries diminished – problem solved in time for election votes.
We, the expats and repats, are as complacent as those who we came to help.
We are as easily distracted and pacified once our “basic” needs are met.
We, in our privilege, give up too easily and wonder why those with lesser opportunities aren’t more resilient.
And I am as bad as they come.
But I started to reevaluate who I am and what I can contribute.
We can never reap the country we believe we deserve – if we do not sow.