A comment from Juma on my last article created a pot-full of eagerness in me. He mentioned a classification of Kenyans in Sweden as those “having papers” and those “paperless”. I responded to him for more spice. The “paperless”, I learnt, are referred to as “Monkeys”. Reason? They are compelled to jump from one person to another, hunting for “papers’’. Mmmh!
”These two families do not relate well’’, says Juma. They have nothing much in common. His friends, he opined, did not have much to share with them. While the “papered” planned investment, the “paperless” worried about settling down. When the papered talked of holidays abroad or visiting families back home, the paperless shrunk with fear. The paperless couldn’t dare set his/her “monkey foot” out of the country.
”Love is not left out either,’’ Juma continued. Before you extend your heart to someone, you have to answer within yourself a big question: which family do you belong to; paper or paperless? Is your love genuine or is it “paper love?”
I can attest to this. I genuinely loved this “paper” family gal, but I couldn’t convince her that my love was real. She couldn’t just trust me. She saw desperation instead of love in me.
I learned that there is a tradition of phobia within “paper-making” community in Sweden – a disheartening notion that once you get papers, you will definitely end the relationship. I agonized in this state of mind until I met a girl who wanted to take a risk. She was compassionate and caring, something I felt crazily in love with.
Our relationship was normal with occasional ups and downs. During some occasions, I couldn’t escape insulting words like – “I know you just want to use me; I can never be your bridge. Never”, and so forth.
I lost my manhood many times. This pierced my heart hard and painfully. Honestly, my manhood urged me to quit. But I persevered. True love and genuine yearning for a companion blinded my bright big eyes. Sweden can be very lonely and stressful if you are single.
“Monkey Games” with Police
After going through many hurdles, we decided to settle down. The procedure for getting Resident Permit was irritably slow by then. After a year, I joined her back in Sweden. Surprisingly, our love flourished daily. We are still bonded together and with two beautiful girls.
I became a meaningful resident to the rest of the “Paper family”. Those who never used to call me got my number from unknown sources. I learned later that there is a “directory” for the “paper family”. My graduation from the monkey life brought in a lot of goodies. It was a kind of a re-birth.
For the first time in two years, I used my real name while applying for a job. I attended Swedish classes conveniently and confidently. I defended myself accordingly. Unlike before, when I got intimidated by contemptuous stares, I gathered guts to give back a stern scornful gaze, which, I believe, sent shivers down the spines of my “guests” as they looked away cowardly.
I have tasted what Juma calls the “monkey life”. Well, I dint jump here and there in search of “papers” but I believe I also deserve the name as I played monkey games with police. The last thing I wanted to see was police colors.
They all sent shivering sensations in my blood stream. One day at work, I entered a wrong code at the entrance and in seconds, without warning, the alarm went off like a bell – ting! ting! ting!. Waah! What the heck?
My first reaction was to run away. Damn! They will sight my black ass so easily. I reasoned. I calmed down and phoned a friend for the right code. It worked. I love running, but on this day, I couldn’t risk doing so for fear of identification. Anything official intimidated me. I poisoned my mind with the thought that I couldn’t do a thing without papers and that was it. I was so wrong!
I stand to be corrected but my view is that whatever class you belong to, and as much as you may luck freedom, it’s all in your mind. What you think in your brain constitutes who you really are. Thoughts are powerful. They can build or destroy you, they can make you feel joy or misery, and they can make you feel scared or fearless.
What you fed your mind with could shatter your “monkey life”. You believe you can’t do this or that because you got no “papers” but many have made it through. So you can. With or without papers, you can still lead a positive life. True friends will like you regardless of your station in life. The rest are not friends if they cannot appreciate who you are.