Earning money and keeping ones family is no longer a straightforward task. There are so many men and women that travel away from their families for extended periods in order to pay the bills.
Many African men leave their families behind and go to the Cities in search of work, some children only see their fathers every few years. This must be so hard. However marriages are not perfect and children lack that fathers wisdom and perhaps discipline which perhaps leaves a hole in their lives.
As a film maker I have travelled but most trips have been limited to 2-3 weeks from home which has not been a challenge. However, things seem to be changing and my new trip is 9 weeks in Dubai, the longest stint thus far. With WhatsApp and FaceTime being unreliable, talking on a regular basis has also been challenging. So communication has not been as fluent as I would hope. The upside of this trip is seeing the excellence in film production that is being birthed in the Middle East, its inspiring to see great concepts and the creativity of how well concepts are executed. This is a media of the future?
Certain events hurt, like being away from your wife or children’s birthdays, missing a graduation or sporting event where you wanted to support your child. I have had two such events so far in my stint in Dubai, you feel separated from your life, almost an onlooker, which is a new experience.
My neighbour in South Africa and good friend works on the rigs and his rotation system, is 6 weeks on and 4 weeks off. This year he is away for Xmas. He is a family man and I know his family misses him tremendously. However the upside is he has financial peace and is able to sustain a lifestyle at home that is enviable too many. But the price he pays is high.
With another wave hitting Europe my inkling is will I make it home for Xmas, a great concern if borders are shut and planes grounded again? 20 odd months ago what has happened was inconceivable, yet now it’s a way of life.
Uncertainty seems to be the new norm. So in a world full of uncertainty working abroad and earning is at least one foundation that is solid, at least for now.
The best attitude seems to be enjoy each day one at a time, as who really knows what tomorrow brings. Appreciate and care for those who love you, attend to your responsibilities.
Time, that’s all we have, make the best use of it, its precious and cannot be sold or bought.
Bruce Mac from the City of Gold