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The Double Face of the Mbenguist Economy
Category :- Editorial Author :- By Sandra 
Posted on April 2, 2019, 5:08 pm
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In the real sense of it, Bush falling’ is the act of going out to the ‘wilderness’ (bush) to hunt down meat (money) and bring back home the trophies. ‘To fall bush’ implies trying against all odds to leave the country to go and earn money to send back to the family.

Despite high financial costs, deportations amongst other setbacks which might impede people from going overseas, young people maintain high aspirations for migration. Bush falling is imminently present in Cameroon and a majority of youths today are craving to fall bush at all cost. This article focuses on the gains of migration on the standpoint of aspirants, those who have achieved great and genuine success from migration, but also, the downsides of falling bush.   
From the onset, the notion of migration stems from misfortunes like unemployment, bad governance, frustration, insecurity, amongst others which normally pushes people to look for better options elsewhere. Given that people see Europe as an “Eldorado,” in order words  “ the golden land” a mystical paradise where it is possible to make an easy living, the migration rate to these areas have risen, notably  to the United States, as former president George Bush rightly said “the American economy is the envy of the world.”  

The fact is that many have gone and come with great achievements. Successes which ranges from constructing houses, starting up business, helping their families, siblings and investing in different kinds of projects in their country. The hopes and aspirations of every individual are to get the best out of life when stepping out of the country. Amidst stories of hardship in the bush, duping, frustrated migration attempts, and deportation, many young Cameroonians remain resilient in their pursuit of success through migration. Most people always see the American lottery system as one of the easiest and best ways to fall bush, given that you will now be considered as an American citizen and might also benefit some added advantages as compared to one who just migrated in search of a better life. The tendency is that most Africans who succeed in migrating overseas end up with low-income jobs, yet they prefer it for the simple reason that the low earnings they receive out there are far better than what a civil servant in Cameroon can earn.

According to Shella Monime, a Cameroonian who lives in the USA, “I have left in America for over 6 years now and I ’m fine where I am, I have my saloon where I do Manicure and Pedicure and my business is doing pretty well. The amount of money I earn here I don’t think I would have had that much in Cameroon, at least it enables me to save and also help my junior ones back in the country. Despite the fact that I don’t really feel like home here with discrimination and all that, so far as I know where I belong, I can also manage to live happily with the people around me.

Many have lived there and even with their petty jobs have been able to make it big. Some are also opportune to have great jobs, where they earn a huge amount of money. These are some of the reasons which motivate many to think that there is paradise in Europe.  

Despite the gains of migration and the anxiety that arose amongst many to travel out of the country, the fact is that migrating overseas entails a lot of risks and negative consequences to these aspirants.  Not every individual who aspires to go abroad eventually reaches El Dorado or even some who reach never succeed in getting the Golden Fleece. This usually is pushed by several factors such as the unpreparedness to go over. Many turns to compete with others just because they have seen friends going over. Forgetting to know that people have their roots or different reasons for going such as marriage, studies, and lottery or with the help of others.

Desperate migrants are transported across borders through a vast illegal means, which might either earn them deportation without necessarily achieving their goals of travelling over.  Just for the simple fact that they want to earn the name “bush faller” “Je veux go à tout prix,” as many always say, making reference to a Cameroonian film titled ‘Paris à tout prix’ (Paris at all cost) that came out in 2008. The film portrays the risks and potential downfalls of migration, such as unwanted sex work, money swindlers, failure, and deportation. Notwithstanding, leaving the country for many has become a prized escape route for many frustrated young Cameroonians. A woman is reported to have sold her daughter for rituals in Yaounde just because she wanted to go to Mbeng.

Women can mobilize sexual relationships with men for the purpose of migration in ways that are not available to men in Cameroon. Indeed, to leave the country by means of marrying is a women-specific emigration strategy in Cameroon. People get hooked up with men from international dating websites and many migrate with the help of a migration broker or through the channel of marriage.

There has been a widespread willingness to have sex or marry for bush. Marriage to a white husband becomes a replacement for the bride price. The sexual economy of Cameroon has hence motivated emigration, as well as generates socially acceptable access routes for success in migration.

Some of the negative aspects may also lead to the spread of HIV/AIDS in the country, and other sexually transmitted disease given that some citizens who go out of the country are being forced to do prostitution and other illicit businesses just for money. In countries like Kuwait and Dubai, for example, many have testified on the high degree on human trafficking, forced prostitution and witchcraft in such countries.

A university lecturer in Germany and a motivational speaker, during one of her trips to Yaounde told youths and all those who think there is paradise in Europe to note that it is also possible to succeed in Cameroon, “there are so much to gain here in Cameroon only we who are here have not yet seen the opportunities. The reasons I decided to come was because, with the skills that I have acquired that way, we could exchange and find possibilities, develop strategies that can make us all succeed here no matter what,” she said in a press conference last August in Yaounde.

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