Upon my last visit to Liberia, my cousin asked me to take him to the "Bank." I pulled up to the Moneygram and said "that is not a bank, it is money sending and receiving company. He stated "to us here in Liberia, we call them banks because we go there to get money."
The visit was congested, hot, and lengthy. I overheard many of the conversations by weary customers and the common theme was "I waiting for my money from the states." Or "they only sending me small something." "That all they send, they don't know Liberia is hard, eh?"I got plenty relatives in the states so they send me money every month."Etc.
Are we Liberians in the Diaspora really assisting our relatives or making them dependent on handouts? Here in America, Lyndon B. Johnson in 1966 promoted the "Great Society" where welfare became the order of the day. Welfare has caused many African Americans to be dependent on a measly gratuity from the Federal Government on a monthly basis instead of going out into the marketplace and earning a living. It has created generations of low-income poverty stricken individuals who cycle the mentality of being dependent to their offspring.
The Correlation: Liberians are following in the footsteps of the Welfare Society by being much too dependent on the Diaspora Liberians especially those in America for monthly support by way of Moneygram and Western Union. Despondent, they are not using the money wisely. We, here in America, have to punch a clock, not be tardy, and work the complete 8 hours (unlike Liberians who sit around the average office gossiping and conniving about how to screw the government out of money)." The monies sent provide our relatives and friends with cash that is not used wisely and within a month, the request is made for additional monies... ... .just like the Welfare System in America.
That day, one fellow said "let's go to the entertainment center (cheap low class bar) and look for woman" to his companion, after receiving his generous gift. Here in the states, many of the welfare recipients drink, smoke cigarettes, dope and blow all of their money and wait for their welfare cards to be recharged with their monthly allotments. They hardly go out and work because they know that they know the American govern will send out the welfare. Liberians will go the Moneygram and Western Union and pickup cash rather than open up a business or go looking for a job. They say "I have malaria or typhoid" "need school fees" "relative just died" "rogues broke into the house" "no food" "children need clothes and books" etc. just to get money.
After my last visit, I sat down with my wife and decided that instead of sending money to Liberia on a monthly or quarterly basis, I would just say "here is $200 go and buy some DK (used clothes) sit in Red Light District, make money and rebuy DK. IF YOU DON'T DO WHAT I SAY "NO MORE MONEY." GIVE A MAN A LOAF OF BREAD AND HE IS HUNGRY TOMORROW. TEACH HIM TO FISH AND IT LASTS A LIFETIME.
The time has come for us to create relationships that are not dependent. The constant flow of monies to relatives and friends without putting limitations on the productive use of it makes us an enabling entity: One that relishes the power of having others beg and continually depend on them for gratuity. Since I instituted that policy, I have not had one early morning call with all of the usually whining about money.
Although it costs us over $2000 (most of our IRS refund) it was worth it for both mine and my wife's families. I am tired standing in line, paying sending fees ($10 to $20), and neglecting my own children's needs just to pay for someone to go out and get drunk and blow my hard earned money needlessly. You may think I am an idiot but just think about how much money you have sent over the past 10 or 20 years, add it up, plus interest.
Now I don't seem like an idiot after all!
John Weah, Contributing Writer,