Cameroon: Home, Sweet Home!

It was certainly with immense joy and satisfaction that the population in Douala joined authorities of the Ministry of External Relations at the Douala International Airport to welcome back the country's prodigal children sent back from the United States

The 81 Cameroonians were repatriated among many others from other African countries. The exercise is not new and is not a preserve of the United States alone. Neither is it an expression of rejection of Cameroonians who stream into President Trump's country; far from it. The bone of contention is the absence of justification papers opening their door into America. Information from the Ministry of External Relations paints a sorrowful image of how most of these people wiggled their way into the U.S. Many are said to have braved very human degrading conditions passing through the thick tropical forests of Latin and Central American countries to emerge in Texas.

Whatever reason that might be forwarded to justify the massive influx into foreign countries, the underlying fact remains; no foreign country can fully provide the motherly feeling and care that can be compared to that of one's homeland. As the saying goes, the sentimental affection between you and where your navel is buried defies easy categorization. Life is not all about materialism. Ask many including those who have successfully fled abroad and those who keep dreaming about it, and they will tell you they are in search of jobs, money and above all, full enjoyment. They will tell you they want to bask in the affluence of good infrastructure with all facilities that will make life better for them. To an extent, they might not be totally wrong; for man's objective in life is to live under decent conditions; comfortable houses, good transport system and good quality health facilities among others.

But as nature would have it, all that makes for life is not only that. The power of nostalgic feeling is too strong to defeat. That is why, compatriots who succeed to install abroad will always want to rush home in order to breathe the air back home, eat their local food, stay with their family members and friends and partake in their traditional lifestyle. Those that have little chance of coming back home will always send for some items; food, cloths, artifacts and others; elements that will incidentally help in reducing nostalgic feeling. Eiluned Lewis describes the homesick feeling very appropriately in his poem titled "We who were born." This is what he says, "We who were born in country places, far from the cities, and shifting places, we have a birthright no man can sell and a secret joy no man can tell.

The arrival of the prodigal children from far-off America is surely a welcome relief, reason why the authorities mobilized resources both human and material to ensure a befitting and well supervised welcome back home. It is perhaps true that some will be ashamed considering the conditions under which they have been brought back. That of course, is human nature, but the best of the things to do to make them really feel at home is to refrain from putting any stigma on them. In any case, irrespective of how these compatriots will be received by friends and relatives, the underlying fact remains; home is home.

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