Living In Fear Without Papers

By Lady C.

Friends, I took some time out to re-evaluate certain aspects in and around my life. I experienced some life-changing episodes and learned that not all friends are what they appear to be.

This week I want to touch the hearts of many folks out there who think they are no longer from Zed simply because they are living here or married outside their race and want little or nothing to do with Zed. Their Zambian blood runs through their veins not by mistake but on purpose. Ba Lesa ba kulu.

Well, some people come to visit long lost rellies or they come in search of a good memorable holiday break.

Others come to improve their educational skills or status by doing a ka ma short unaccredited course somewhere and others just come to work and help their needy families back home. Life is really tough for them and this could make a huge difference in terms of life and death situations. And then there are those who float into this space just waiting to see where the wind will take them as they just anchor on this step for an improved standard of living.

Totally chilling mwana, not wanting to work or study but always stating how hard it is to do any of this. You wonder why and you accidentally ask why not boyi? You suddenly look at the person you’re addressing and realise the sadness in their eyes doesn’t emanate from homesickness, but there are tears in those eyes glazing over a heartfelt history of struggles, pain, suffering and just being lost. Then it hits you one time. They are living in constant fear and without papers.

This is a really terrible twist in most people’s lives who are still here looking for a way out. In most cases, they are the most gracious people to ever walk the earth but find themselves in this difficult situation. Some folks are gifted or super talented, totally unaware that this government would reconsider their status based on that alone. We all have special gifts from God and these should be maximised.

But some Zedians can be funny though. They totally hate mixing with their own kind for one silly reason or another and yet they are so willing and ready to spill their heart out to a total stranger from ‘Mars’ who can give them a helping hand. What stops them from seeking out a confidante from a fellow Zedian? Fear of familiarity and embarrassment? What about the disgrace of being discussed by the stranger from ‘Mars’ who will obviously discuss you or even ridicule you as soon as your back is turned? Perhaps the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t know.

Perhaps it’s time we all sat up and took time out to really think about our comrades in need.

There’s nothing worse than living in constant, never-ending fear simply because you don’t have the right credentials or papers. As much as I don’t condone this, I know that every single person’s circumstances are different from one person to the next and all you need to do is seek good advice and the right help for you alone in your own personal circumstances. I know it’s easier said than done but It’s better than being invited to a party and suddenly finding yourself surrounded by immigration officials who surround the party and start rounding everybody up looking for illegal immigrants – courtesy of your fellow Zedian comrade who called them.

Strong rumours have it that this actually happened in the good old USA and I have struggled to comprehend this single act. How selfish can one be? Was this person the only Zambian person entitled to live in the USA? Has it always been a race to leave Zed and prosper in the USA or UK before any other Zambian comes along? Why would you want to put your fellow human beings in harm’s way? How would you sleep at night and most of all why, why, why? Will God really forgive you for these acts? Do you know how many people they are feeding whilst they are here doing menial jobs here and there, struggling to survive on a meagre income? Do you know how many demons they have to face in sickness or in health? It must be a real nightmare for that ‘traitor’ to hear that word AMNESTY in tandem with over-stayers or illegal immigrants.

But of course, God never sleeps and will always look after His own children. There are amnesties out there now for people looking for a way out of the darkness and advice must be sought from the right sources to match your own personal circumstances. Everybody is different.

Nobody has the right to play God but we all do have the power to give love and show support for our fellow human-beings living in this foreign land away from all that is familiar and a life line away from home.

I will keep my column very short today as I would like to send a strong message for all Zambian ambassadors living in the Diaspora. And by ambassadors I mean each and every one of us living outside Zambia.
Let us be united and show some kindness to one another as our children are watching and learning from all our actions. What kind of legacy do we leave behind when we do not help our own or even promote our own brothers and sisters in this foreign land? I recall a time when our Mission would step in to assist with the repatriation of the body of a deceased fellow Zambian back home. One doesn’t understand how it has come to this as now everyone’s left to their own devices. Financial aid is not always what people need, support can come in all different shapes and forms but the common denominator is really giving that precious time to help out or just being there. One’s presence is an effervescent gift of nothing but real love.

Love costs nothing, is infinite and can be reciprocated in a way that even you could never imagine.

Christmas is around the corner so let’s learn how to be humane again and make the changes you want to see around you.