A group of students packed a small room on the fourth floor of the main library. A few blacks, a visible oriental majority, couple of Indians, sprinklings of what we variously call Arabs, and other nationalities my stereotype radar couldn’t easily pick out.
We were there to learn about all the the ‘easier or faster’ ways available to us to work and live, or live and work, in this country a former acquaintance hypocritically referred to as the ‘great white hope’. And all this because “we made a conscious decision to come and study here…” If you wonder what these easier and faster ways are, here; a potentially ready and waiting work permit, after which another potentially ready Permanent Resident card.
Believe it or not, I didn’t quite know why I was there. Ok, I lie. I did. I’m waiting on a book that’s taking Jesus time to get to me. As a result I’m kinda stuck on the project I’m working on. As a result of that my day sucked. As if that wasn’t enough, my fav. spot I hang out at pretending to look serious than I actually I’m closed earlier today. All that left quite some time on my hands, and to avoid returning to my humble abode at an unusual hour, this meet appeared a good way to while away the time.
But a question lingered in my mind; if you were asked directly and specifically why/what is it you’d like to be a permanent resident here for, what would be your honest to God answer? I didn’t have one. That wasn’t made any better by the assertion that I made a “conscious choice to come and study here”. I know differently why I’m, I came, here.
So as I sat there listening to a very well organised presentation (like i’d expect any differently from this government’s bureaucrat!), I couldn’t help a few nagging thoughts milling around my mind: Could it be our own desperate circumstances holding court in our backyards that make such offers too juicy, too irresistible; Or, could it be the desperate circumstances of our host country to fill its human resource needs that compel them, albeit in a somewhat exploitative way, to design such irresistible retainment programmes to non-national students; Or, could it simply be that we’re optimally utilising opportunities already within our reach (vis a vis thousands who stake everything to make that departure, that journey across the Atlantic)?