Diasporas passion to return and work at home


After close to two decades in United States, Jamal Nuri, says he has got enough of living there and is mulling over returning home. When he left home to travel to the United States, he used to work as a college instructor and made a good living for himself and family.

He still works in a technology company and makes a good living there. Yet, he longs for returning and working at home.

Concerning the reason for returning home Jamal says “At some point in life, you miss being back home”

According to Jamal, after working hard over the years, he has already managed to help his family, parents and siblings. This means he has already achieved the goal for which he set out to move along with his family, which is better economic situation. Now that he has fulfilled all this, what is motivating him to return home?

“Some time you ask yourself what the purpose of your life is if you are not being of some use for your own people and country” Jamal noted.

Just like many diaspora, Jamal also remembers and longs for childhood, friends, homeland …etc. This being a good reason, he has a better factor to quickly return home.

“I did everything for myself and family and brothers and sisters, I just want to do something for my country now” he reiterated.

Just like Jamal many Ethiopians fled their homes due to economic and political reasons and lived abroad for decades. But the strong bond to the cultural and social values of their homeland keeps them tied to their origin. Through time they develop a feeling of longing for returning home.

Hence they mostly show interest to return home and work towards the social, economic and political development of their country.

The same story goes for Najat Hamza, a woman of Ethiopian origin who lives in the United States. Speaking to NPR.org, Najat said she fled Oromia, a regional state in Ethiopia, with her father and two older siblings during a violent conflict in the region. They eventually settled in the United States.

After nearly 20 years of living in Minnesota, Najat came to Story Corps in 2017 with her cousin, Muntaha Shato, to reflect on the unshakable longing for the home Najat left behind.

“The day started like any other day for me, but school ended and we were told to get ready to leave forever,” she said. “We didn’t know when — or if — we were going to come back. I had to leave my little brothers and my mom behind.”

“One thing that I have never, ever forgotten was that I was shivering as I waved goodbye to my mother for the last time,” Hamza said. “In her last attempt of being a motherly figure, she walks back inside our house and grabs this blue sweater and brings it out. And she puts it on me, you know, with her hands. That was her way of sending me off to the world with care.”

Hamza has held on to that blue sweater, she said, which sits in her closet.

“It was something that I looked at and reached for whenever I thought about her,” she said, thinking of her mom. “That is what distances do: break apart bonds that can never be brought back.”

“I’m pretty sure all my high school friends that I went to school with here in Minnesota wouldn’t know what I thought about when I would sit in a corner, away from them, while we’re learning about math or what have you. They have no idea what a refugee child from such a background carries,” she said.

“And, of course, you can look at me and go, ‘What are you talking about, Najat? You went to college here, you went to high school ….’ On the surface, yes. But home is the familiar, home is a space that belongs to you, home is going outside and just staring into the night sky and not have worries in the world.”

She said , “Even though I’m a full-fledged U.S. citizen, my heart will always belong to Oromia — or, as the world knows it, Ethiopia.”

The government of Ethiopia established an institution entitled Ethiopian Diaspora Agency, to help Ethiopians abroad who opt to return and work in their homeland.

The Ethiopian Herald 20 April 2021

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