Life is full of risks and challenges. Sometimes, I presume life is also unfair. Some people are born into wealth, fame and social capital. All they need to do is learn to harness their birth entitlements. Others are born into poverty, poor social capital and even debts. They grow up fighting with every demon to get their basic needs. Take for instance in Nigeria where there is capitalism and no social welfare support, individuals have to fend for themselves through intense hard work and resilience. I travelled with my husband to Nigeria in 2016 and he was awed with the level of commitment and hardwork. He could not believe how much hardwork people put in to get a minimum pay or wages. He had a shock when I told him that the minimum pay is 18,000 naira which is below an average Irish man drinking pocket money. An in-depth knowledge of an average working Nigeria on minimum pay with a family of two children depicts an excess expenditure but poor income; no wonder most Nigerians find solace in God.
However, evidence shows that most poor Nigerians depend on their rich family members for survival. Most of these family members live in the city and some in foreign countries. In other words, there are migrants. Since there is no welfare system, most average Nigerians would be an entrepreneur plus the culture of apprenticeships is very common. Those who had made it would support those in need.
However, the circle of poverty can not be broken. Resources are limited and no matter how much a rich family member earns, his or her resources cannot cover the financial needs of all his or her family members. The mistake most family members make is assume that the source of income from supporting family is endless. Most family members continue to ask money from one particular person or migrant who appears to be well-to-do without asking how they survive with all the extra expenses. What bother me most is the sense of entitlement exhibited by the said family members. The arrogant disposition of disappointment when their needs are not met as if they entrusted you with money prior to that day. Although it is sad when you think of it, the level of poverty, the lack of welfare support and the limited opportunities in Nigeria. It would be unkind not to support those in need when they ask but again, that is, if you have enough to go round. I do not intend to talk about those people who need support from family members, I am interested in talking about people who depend on others for their needs while using these support to finance their luxurious life. In addition to the list, those who do not want to work but want to depend on those working hard to survive.
One must be wary of who we judge and call a miser. Most people are struggling and fighting their own demon. No body has it all. It doesn’t matter what level we find ourselves, each person have their needs and dreams to meet. Over the last ten years of living in Europe, I noticed a common theme among migrants’ story in Europe; most migrants assume that family members do not understand the difficulties they encounter in Europe. It appears that families back home assume that everyone one in Europe is rich and have spare to share always and without notice. Although migrants strictly live on strict budget most migrants narrate that the expections and perceptions from family members positions them in a difficult situation in that they have to supply their needs and that of the numerous family members impromptu . Most times, the efforts by migrants members is often met with ingratitude and disappointment; mainly because the family member expected more quality stuff or higher amount of payout. In some cases, family members squander money given to them because of their expectations that the source of income is endless. One migrant narrated his ordeal about sending money home to his family to build a house, he cuts back on his personal expenses, barely meeting his own needs in order to send money home, only to discover that the money was never used for its purpose. Today, he has no house and no savings. The family member who received the money was living an ostentious life while building his own house at the migrants expense. There are cases where family member concort story to take money out of migrants in order to fuel their own luxurious life while the migrant sending the money is barely eating three square meal a day. If the said migrant complain, he is easily termed a miser. Family member charade him, calling him mean and ‘superglue’ hand. What most family members do not understand is that these migrants work extremely hard and in highly supervised situations, live strictly on budget and have enormous bills to pay. They do these without support from others but have to support several people. Take for example, one migrant might have ten people asking for 20, 000 Naira at the same time. Mostly family and friends and all needing it urgent and without prior discussion. Each person unaware of the others. The migrants gives 9 people 20, 000 Naira totalling 180, 000 Naira based on their urgency. One person is left out, next thing, the left out person begins to spread negative story about the person, narrating how someone abroad cannot give ordinary 20, 000 Naira.
Life is about giving and receiving. One must be ashamed if they are always receiving and complaining about what they receive. Although inequalities exist, this does not permit sense of entitlement on other people’s finance. We must learn to respect others and show appreciation for support given to us no matter how small.
Please let me know your thoughts.
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