“T“he economic downturn in America in recent years has left many families including those of African descent with no alternatives but to reach out to their homelands in search of better prospects. Each person is faced with varying circumstances that has made doing business back home (Africa) appealing, from; being let go from their jobs in America or the need for a side hustle etc. And while it may seem great that some are investing time and money back into their native countries, the good does not outweigh the bad. That first business trip has many rewards; success, money, freedom and women.
Leaving Africa perhaps as a teenager to America is clearly not in vain. The motive is clear. Get an education, start a career and as expected, a family. After all, settling in America is where they envision being long-term; becoming citizens and creating new lives. Eventually, meeting a significant other, and having children become a part of the fulfillment that most men dream to obtain. While it may still be the honeymoon, five, ten years or more, as father, husband, and career man nothing has separated him from his family. However, faced with unexpected circumstances such as loosing their jobs or the sudden need for extra money, it opens the opportunity to do things differently. Rather than reporting to a cubicle or office, their workplace changes. For some, they chose to live their dream as “hustlers”, or business men starting up a buyer/seller business with various things like car parts, fabrics, or anything in high demand.
Leaving his family for the first time, there’s usually a great anticipation of better things to come in the family. The wife is hopeful things go well and anticipate his arrival within one month’s time or less. Unfortunately for her, that doesn’t happen. It turns out to be an additional two weeks because shipments were delayed, or some other bureaucratic red tapes that needed to be cleared before goods are released and sold.
Not suspicious at first, the wife understands the dilemma, confident that this time when he says he will be back, he will. He returns after the additional two weeks but begins making arrangements to leave again. He uses his time home with his wife and children to set up new shipments in order that his business trip goes well when he arrives again and the cycle begins. Whether or not their dream of bettering their prospects becomes a reality, one thing remains for sure; their business trips has now turned into an excuse to travel back and forth to Africa philandering with women without impunity. They have made going back to their native countries routine, and home- treated as a hotel. They settle- in for a month or two, arrange for business, then leave again.
These trips have gone from one month to months at a time. As expected, his absence ruins his family relationships. The wife is left responsible for most finances; both for the children and the home. She doesn’t see her spouse’s full profit because he may be investing much of his money in his country, buying lands or building houses. While there, they get caught up with several women and as a result sometimes have children. However, their secret lives eventually catch up with them and when suspicions of infidelity are confirmed by the wife or her family back home, she divorces him.
There is a famous cliché, “The chicken comes home to roost.”
In most cases the philandering husband wishes to return home to his wife after lives have been destroyed and he is broke only for the wife to reject him. It is my wish that this article will serve as a warning to those who may be considering leaving their families for prolonged periods in search of better prospects in a foreign land. The outcome is often not what was intended on both sides. The lesson is that nothing can replace a happy family unit, not even money or success.
~Ashley I. Okonkwo
~Photocredit: Radiuschurch.org for 1st Pic, Bossip.com 2nd Pic
Founded in 2007, Ladybrille® Magazine is a California based pioneer digital publication demystifying the image of Africans in the west through contemporary African fashion and celebrating the brilliant woman in business and leadership, with an emphasis on the African woman in the diaspora. Our coverage includes stories on capital, access to markets, expertise, hiring and retention, sales, marketing, and promotions.