*This is one of five posts on the Caine Prize for African Writing 2013 Shortlist. A group as organised by Aaron Bady will be blogging about the entries (one per week) for five weeks until the prize is announced on the 8th of July. Please see the links below for details and a schedule.
My Thoughts on ‘Foreign Aid’ by Pede Hollist
By Veronica Nkwocha
The story ‘Foreign Aid’ is about fissures caused by the uprooting of the principal character Balogun from Sierra Leone to America. The chasm widens with his long sojourn in his new home away from his roots where he had lived up until his mid-twenties.
The man we meet in America is one of many people, one of a crowd. We learn about his stay in a few paragraphs; he was generic, unobtrusive and inconsequential. The twenty years passed in a blur of the many things people like him did; coloured phone cards to call home, failed promises to his loved ones at home and furtive marriages for the all-important green card.
He “..submerged himself in inner-city America. He ﬂipped burgers, cleaned ofﬁce buildings, and worked security for cantankerous residents in a variety of elder-care facilities—pursuing the American dream, unskilled, undocumented, and with an accent…”
Even though life got in the way of his dreams, he still found his level like waters after escaping their hold. He didn’t get the Economics degree but he became documented, had a job and was driven in his goal to survive the ever changing urban jungle he had found himself in.
Balogun spoke clipped and fustian; adapting his language to a degree, to that of his inner city surroundings. A (more…)