Out and About With Karo Oforofuo: Travel Abroad – Is It a Charm That Wrecks Homes?

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Africa is our continent. Nigeria is our home. In this time of dwindling economy, fallen naira and severe hardship, everyone wants a way out of the country. I do too. Lol. But the question I ask myself is this. “Has running away done more harm than good? Especially for the married couples?”

I have been talking with a very good friend of mine, about life in Australia. It so happens that a lot of our men and women over there prefer to come back home to get married. This isn’t because the women over there are bad, or not good for marriage, but because they want to be with spouses who understand their cultures and therefore, understands them.

After marriage, it might take anywhere from a few months to a year to secure a visa for the spouse. During this period, the spouse staying abroad will have to come home about once or twice. Both parties will have to keep up communication so as to keep their relationship going. From your own corner of the world, you observe that the love between the two of them is something wonderful. And you expect it to remain so.

The couple finally go abroad and the fight starts. Blows and insults are exchanged. Wives park out of their husband’s house or the husband parks out for the wife. The law over here favours the female folks so the man has to watch his back, otherwise, he might end up in court every week and depending on the allegations thrown in by the woman, he might be cooling off in jail for a while.

However, there are those who will marry a ‘Jando’, as they call them, for the sake of getting a visa and eventually, a green card. Nothing more.

During the course of our discussion one of such stories my good friend told me was that of a man who felt the need to settle down. He sent a message back home, asking his people to find him a good woman, one that won’t cause him trouble after he brought her over. The family searched around and finally settled for a very good Christian girl (their opinion). They told him she was a virgin and very hardworking as well as respectful. The man sent money home for marriage preparations. He got he girl’s contact and called her every now and then, just to get acquainted. He liked how she sounded and how respectful she was.

Few months later, they got married. Few months after marriage, he secured her visa and she went over to join him. Months after she joined him, she divorced him and packed out of the house. Her aim had been achieved – she had her visa and green card. What else could she ask for? The guy felt BAD, he felt used. But there was nothing he could do.

Another story is that of a girl who even went as far as borrowing from the bank just to spend money on a boyfriend she intended settling down with. She flew down to Nigeria every now and then like it was a backyard, just to visit him. She took him shopping and bought him countless gifts. Not that he wasn’t doing well for himself. But he appreciated her care for him. After marriage, she went over and made moves to secure a visa for her husband. Once the visa was secured, she came down to Nigeria. After a few weeks, they left together for Australia. It’s about six months or less since her husband joined her abroad. They’ve been fighting like mad and are at the brink of separation. Most importantly, the bank dept is still yet to be cleared and her husband has been wondering how she acquired such huge dept. Well, where did he think she got money to lavish on him? They have to share payment of the money and the husband isn’t finding it funny at all.

So I asked “Why? What is the cause of this sort of thing? Is it that there is one juju hanging in the atmosphere that makes it difficult for our Nigerian couples to remain together after flying abroad?

True, there are those marriages that survive. But they are few, compared to the ones that suffer and end in break up.

My friend said – the problem, Karo, is character and the kind of company one keeps after getting here. If one has a bad character back home, earning dollars would make it worse over there. Also, there are those women and men whose only purpose over there is to wait for new arrivals. They then try to make friends with the new arrival and if our newbie is a very social person, he/she will definitely be hooked. They will sink their claws into such a one and lecture him/her about things they think they should /should not do. The women folks, especially, are told to not allow their husbands climb their heads or order them about.
“You’re in a country where you’re the head of the house” The gossipers will say to the women. And these women(newbie) will take the advise of these wolfs without considering the implications.
“Forget that your naija wife bo. Oyinbo full everywhere. Them fit give you green card if na that one you dey find.” The men will advise their fellow men.

The truth is, a bad character cannot change overnight. The strength of your personal moral upbringing will determine if you’ll fall into the trap of these wolves, or if you’ll keep your marriage going and keep bad company at bay.

Yes, marriage is no child’s play. It is a different school of it’s own. Both parties have to be patient with each other, understand each other through constant communication and most importantly pray. Don’t only pray when trouble comes. Instead, pray to keep trouble at bay.

As long as we are in human form, we are not all perfect. So as for me, I pray everyday. I pray to God to help me be the best wife to my spouse to be. What about you?

Karo Oforofuo (c) 2016

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