Many Cameroonians have been leaving their country over the last three decades due to bad governance, but most of those who have left have been young unemployed graduates who are seeking better economic and social life for themselves and their families.
But over the last four years, some middle-aged Cameroonians, especially from Southern Cameroons, have left their country due to the civil war that has already killed over 5,000 Cameroonians.
Among those who have left are medical doctors, lawyers and engineers who believe that Cameroon does not hold out any hope for their children. These groups of professionals have been heading mainly to the United States and Canada where they believed it is possible to make dreams come true.
But there is another group that is also checking out of the country and this group is not large. Among them is one Barrister Fru John Nsoh who, in his late 70s, still holds that he can make things better for himself. But America could be a slippery ground, especially for those who do not have the right skills set. Things do not seem to be working for Barrister Fru John Nsoh and the strain is becoming very visible.
He skipped into the U.S.A where he sought asylum before the coronavirus emerged, but the mismanagement of the pandemic by the Trunp Administration is affecting his asylum claim. As the virus lingers, his asylum claim is also suffering. The wait time is getting longer and there is no work for him. This is a major concern to him.
Prior to escaping to the United States, Barrister Fru John Nsoh had the nasty habit of taking the Yaoundé government to task for its role in the Southern Cameroons crisis. His criticism of the government made him a TV star in Cameroon, and this might have made him to think that he could repeat the same feat in the U.S.A. But America always has unpleasant surprises for those who migrate there, especially those who do not have a lot of financial resources.
Indeed, he was among the lawyers who said their services to Southern Cameroonians who are being held in prisons across the country were “pro bono”. Southern Cameroonians have been sincerely grateful to these lawyers although they sometimes contribute to enable the lawyers to go and see their clients and defend them in court. Some of that money sometimes transited through Barrister Fru John Nsoh who unfortunately shared it to his fellow lawyers as if he was distributing candy to children.
This outdated method of doing things did not really go down well with many of his colleagues and the Southern Cameroonian President, Julius Ayuk Tabe, had to look for innovative ways to ensure that the money was properly managed. This rubbed the learned lawyer up the wrong way. Like his friend Chris Anu, Barrister Fru John Nsoh is an honest man, especially when money is not involved, and that was why his colleagues had to complain.
He has been very bitter about that decision and ever since he came to the United States, he has accused President Julius Ayuk Tabe of all the crimes and sins in the world. He is even blaming his erectile dysfunction problems on him even when he is at the Yaounde Maximum Security Prison. There are rumors that he might sue Mr. Ayuk Tabe for all the stress he is going through in the U.S.A.
In the United States, Barrister Nsoh cannot practice law. If has any dream of practicing law in the United States, then he must go back to law school and this will require him spending hundreds of thousands of dollars which he does not even have. He is currently facing tough financial challenges just to pay lawyer fees for his asylum case, and this explains why he is in cahoots with Mr. Boh Herbert who is using the crisis in Southern Cameroons to enrich himself.
Barrister Fru John Nsoh is cash-strapped and the pressure is showing on his face. The Barrister who looked younger and happier while in Cameroon has become grumpy and stressed out in the United States. He seems to be caught between a rock and hard place.
If he leaves the United States for Cameroon, then he might be joining President Julius Ayuk Tabe in Kondengui for all the insults he has heaped on the Yaounde government. If he stays in the United States, then his high blood pressure and diabetes will only get worse as his resources dry up. He is contemplating going home. Kondengui is appearing to be a more attractive and better option for him, as it is less expensive.
If he insists on staying in the United States, then he might end up in a nursing home where he will be required to take care of people who are as old as he is. But that is not the biggest problem. Nursing homes are not popular destinations for many job-seekers in the United States.
The coronavirus is on the prowl in those facilities. A weakened Barrister Fru John Nsoh will certainly not last long if he ventures into those coronavirus-infested nursing homes. The virus has no respect for old people and its special dislike for people with pre-existing conditions is known. Barrister Fru John Nsoh should rather err on the side of caution than to venture into a lion’s den without the appropriate protection.
The learned Barrister is in a fix. He cannot afford rents, and this is taking up his blood pressure. Without money and an insurance policy, the barrister is in the throes of a major health crisis. Having a health insurance policy in the U.S.A is costly, and it is the least of his concerns for now. He has other concerns that are keeping him up all night. A health insurance policy can wait. In his view, there is no rush and even if there was an urgent need for that, where will he get the money from?
The legal tender in the U.S.A is the green back and not the CFAF and the green back is hard to get in that country. That is a currency that keeps many young men running all day. Will the barrister be capable of running around just to raise money for housing and food?
For now, he is still enjoying the largesse of some people, but the months ahead will be very testing to him. The financial pinch is already being felt as his host is already looking for creative ways to send him out of the house. The times are getting tougher out there for the barrister and without divine intervention; he might end up bouncing from one house to the other.
To avoid this, he must go back home. He is already losing sleep, and this is not a good sign. America is a not a place for people in their 70s to come and seek a better life. Fru John Nsoh must go back home where he will have the opportunity to enjoy his Achu and fufu corn. There is time for everything and for now, his best bet is to accept a long jail term in Cameroon that will not come with the type of stress that America is pouring on him.
By Soter Tarh Agbaw-Ebai