“The confidence of the people is worth more than money” – Carter G.Woodson
Having lived in Finland long enough, I can boldly say that I have seen it all but I do not know it all! When leaving the shore of Africa, my dream was to come to Eruope to find a greener pasture.Your question to me today should be: “Have you found the greener pasture yet?” My answer is coming shortly at the end of my write-up. Many young and brilliant Africans coming to Finland to study are usually very ambitious in the beginning until the waves of reality hits them and shatters their dreams to pieces, sadly. Not long after they arrived before you start seeing them conforming to what the atmosphere disctates to them: they begin to lose hope; and forget who they used to be – Men & Women of Valour. They become settled and satisfied with their present situation of “Never bothering to rise; Hiding in the cloud of denigration but portraying a false image to the people back home that all is well.” My people have lost strength, motivation, vision and mission at last! The confidence of my people has been taken away from them.
UuJust to quickly say, I am not a writer nor poet. I enjoy writing in my journal and I do love reading & blogging every now and then. Therefore, bear with me.
Recently, I read a book titled: “Mis-Education of the Negroes” by Carter G.Woodson [Originally released in 1933]. Although Carter referred to African-Americans in his book, I have found some of his references applicable to the situation of Africans(especially African students) living in Finland. I shall be using some of his quotes as sub-topics of what I intend to write about; all from my personal experience.
“Philosophers have long conceded, however, that every man has two educators: ‘that which is given to him’, and ‘that which he gives himself’.”
I remember the year I decided to come to Finland, everything happened so fast from the moment I heard the good news of passing the entrance exam, the moment I shared the news with my family & friends till the moment I got my residence permit to live in Finland. I believed some of my friends even envied me a little because they counted me so very lucky to be traveling abroad. Generally, people in my community regard traveling abroad to be the beginning of a new song in any young person’s life. Although only about 20% of those I told about my departure to Finland knew exactly where the country was and that Nokia was from the country; many people believed that I was going to a better place than my home country. I counted it a great privilege and opportunity that I must quickly make use of. My biggest dream was to work in Nokia as a software engineer immediately after my graduation, start helping people back home from my salaries and begin something big to create employment for people back home.
Everyone has got a dream, whether it is vague or realistic. In fact, he who has no dream at all, also has a dream because intending not to have a dream is a dream on its own. I remember discussing with my friends about our big ambitions; Our bright & promising future. We all had awesome dreams!
I have dreamed of building an empire and owning huge multinational businesses while I was in Africa. I had dreamed of helping people and solving top issues facing my people with my knowledge and resources up till the point I boarded the plane flying to Helsinki, Finland.
So, what happened to my dreams? What happened to our dreams? What happened to your dreams? What happened to our confidence?
I have met several well-educated African men and ladies in Finland whose dreams have been shattered and whose confidence have been blown into the thin air. A lot of our brothers and sisters are into hot jobs like cleaning, postman-ship, logistics, and all kinds of hard labors. It is sad to say but it seems it does not matter what you studied, your end-point is ‘some shitty job!’ How did this happen? You follow me.
Finland is a great country of about 5.3million people. The government is good and very much interested in protecting & providing for her citizens. The atmosphere is beautiful in summer and the security is almost 100%. Finland was like a paradise to many people when they first came here. The crime rate is very low especially if you live in small towns; and Finland is the best place to raise a child. Studying in Finland has been tuition-free for many years and a lot of people have benefited from its wonderful free-education scheme. In my opinion, Finland is one of the few places in the world where you can earn the best education but the worries for an international student in Finland begins when a question of “what is next after graduation?” hits him in the face! Will anyone ever give you a job? Is any company ever going to give you an internship talk less of a permanent job? Will some company call you for an interview?
There are a thousand question that need answers right now but maybe I have no accurate answers. Those answers may satisfy the questions of why there are not many Africans contributing hugely to their society in Finland. We have a lot of hard-working Africans who are only struggling to stay happy through each day because they are not living their fulfilled lives.
The problems faced by African graduates in Finland may be said to be defined by:
1. The pre-configuration of the person’s mind through ‘the education’ that this society has given him, which defines a confinement and limitations for him. I mean the notion that no matter how much you struggle; no matter how brilliant you might be; no matter how good you are professionally, there is a limitation to how much you can shine in all ramifications. Education is good but it becomes like a ‘a waste’ if it makes no difference in your life at the end of the day. Naturally, you expect a reward after a hard work but sorry, this is not true in most cases in Finland. The degree(s) you earned in Finland may beautify your CV but there is over 90% assurance that it may end up being so irrelevant if you will remain here in Finland for a very long time.
2. The individual himself and the role of the African community in this matter. Show me a successful African living here in Finland and I will show you that he had undergone the process of unlearning what this society has taught him(i.e he can never rise beyond a pre-defined status) and educating himself so well that his knowledge has set him completely free from the mental slavery to become a pace-setter.
In this writing, I shall be reviewing only the second part: “The individual himself and the role of the African community in this matter.”
Read original posting here.
This piece was reprinted by Migrant Tales with permission.