Doing Business With Diaspora People is a Waste of Time, period

Doing Business With Diaspora People is a Waste of Time, period
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So, your friend from back in the day, or your favourite cousin left for the States a few years ago. Unlike other friends or relatives, he or she stayed in touch.  

Often, he or she calls, and you talk for many hours on end, you know, while s/he is driving to work—a 35-minute drive. They call you for political updates, for village gossip, and in return they update you on their lives (very busy), school (too exhausting), work (tight schedule, took an extra job), and anything to remind you that they lead a different kind of life.  

After several phone calls, there is usually a brain fart. From either end.

“Let’s start a business.”

And that is the beginning of an end to the friendship.

If a guy in the diaspora ever suggested some idea that will generate money and they want to involve you, run, baby, run. If it is your idea and you need their funding, stop it immediately. 99 per cent of the time, you will be wasting time.

Diaspora people operate under a different set of rules and a mistaken, if annoying, utopia.

For starters, no big money is ever forthcoming. When they send you $ 50 even for paper work, they will start controlling your destiny.

As soon as they think of the idea and you get talking, they are always super-excited. Like a politician in front of voters, they can talk a great deal. But when implementing stuff, they will start playing hide and seek.

For starters, no big money is ever forthcoming. When they send you $ 50 even for paper work, they will start controlling your destiny.

As soon as you agree on what to do, they take a very patronizing tone, in the mistaken belief that living abroad accords them superior strategic intellect. Their opinion becomes obviously superior. So, you will be forced to take so much crap. Brace yourself.

There will be long skype calls that amount to absolutely nothing. Just empty platitudes, emptier promises but you must be patient, because you know which side of your brain is buttered. Usually, you must do things their way.

Be prepared to do so many fools’ errands. You will write business plans that they will never read. You will visit several sites for whatever business they fancy, lots of feasibility studies and pretty much everything. To them, those in Kenya, time is an infinite product they can waste, even as they buy time to withdraw from the arrangement.

So, you will be stuck on planning forever, and there will be no action. If it is office furniture you are buying, they will make you to account for the $150 they send you, as if the carpenter at the corner shop has ever seen a receipt in his life.

Girlfriend, they will get you moving from Mombasa to Malaba, sorting every bullshit imaginable, and they will never pay for it, or even refund you for all your trouble.

And when you ask why they don’t trust you, they will lecture you on how they have been conned a dozen times. Yet sometimes, it could be the business they were rooting for just didn’t pick up. Refer above. Of course, some rogue friend or relatives may disappear with some few dollars, or impress upon a lady with the bucks, or drink them, or use them for whatever.  But you will never hear the last of it.  Also, Diaspora people never shut up. Everyone in your clan and friends circle will know what a thief you became.  

And their insecurity can be idiotic. Even when you account for every dollar, they are too cynical to give you a fair hearing. Even worse, because of the way we write dates and how they write their dates, they can be paranoid, thinking you have faked a receipt, yet it is just the reversal of dates. Just last  December I sent one of them a receipt, dated 6/12/2016. In Kenya that is 6th of December 2016. But in America it is June 12th, 2016. My friend thought she had caught me lying…

“Why are you cheating me, this receipt is from June, and you were supposed to have bought these things yesterday,” she complained. For a moment I was lost. I explained myself how I had spent the $120 dollars like a baby, being accused of stealing sugar.

“Unless, the fundi made a mistake writing the dates,” I quipped.

“I Know you just faked this receipt, but you are not smart enough…”

And in 2018, you must know what to shut out of your life and diaspora folks are a good place to start.

It took me a while to figure out where the problem was, and by the time I was explaining, it was over, we have rarely talked since then.

What is not in doubt is the money they make abroad comes from blood and sweat. And demanding accountability is only fair, but being petty is out of order. It is wrong to assume that Kenya is run like America, where systems work.

When they give you money, it is like a license to control your life. They don’t care if you have a life of your own, they will be so entitled, calling you at 2.a.m. to whine about everything. They will waste your night and you will not have anything to show for all the struggle and patience.

The kind of business they always propose, will never get off the ground, they live in a scarily dreamy world. Girlfriend, they will get you moving from Mombasa to Malaba, sorting every bullshit imaginable, and they will never pay for it, or even refund you for all your trouble.

In the unlikely event, the business succeeds, they will want to hog all the credit. Even if it is a 50-50. It is always their smart brains, you know! Very selfish.

It is time you knew what practically can work, and what cannot work. And in 2018, you must know what to shut out of your life and diaspora folks are a good place to start. You can maintain a friendly relationship, but never attempt anything business like. Or even entertain the idea.

And when they come home as summer bunnies, buy them a drink. It’s usually tough for them up there, let them not lie to you.

 

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