Drain, Gain and Waste – African Brains ::: #graphAfrica

We hear a lot about the waves of phenomenon happening to the African brain. The two biggest ones being the Gain and the Drain.

Brain Gain:

an increase in the number of highly trained, foreign-born professionals entering a country to live and work where greater opportunities are offered 

Brain Drain:

a loss of trained professional personnel to another company, nation, etc., that offers greater opportunity – NOT in Africa’s favor and sometimes turns into Brain Waste

A really good friend/neighbor of mine just passed her boards a few weeks back as an RN. She already had a job offer at one of the prestigious hospitals in Washington DC waiting for her and when she found out we celebrated by going to the Smithsonian folk life festival and having a gloriously therapeutic and relaxing walk almost all the way home from the National Mall. The only thing that needed to happen was for her to get a certain type of visa that would permit her TO work. Fast forward to this weekend and she was denied it. When she told me I asked what her options were and it seems of those available there is not enough time permitted for those things to first be done nor to guarantee her getting the visa. She texted me earlier today that she is leaving next Friday. I had to not respond to it in order to deal.

Later today, I came home and relaxed a bit, watched the sun set and had some quality solo-dolo time. On my way back to mine I stopped at her place to finally face what her text means and I almost cried when she opened the door because she was so cheerful and there were boxes strewn all over. Evidence of her impending departure. There were some other friends there and it turned out to be a really good hangout taking pictures for craigslist and figuring out what we are buying from her. More than anything there are so many opportunities waiting for her in the islands [admittedly more so simply because she’ll be an i-just-got-back] that she couldn’t even have imagined with her own previous plan. I left there having such a good feeling about her future I was almost envious.

I’m home now and I was thinking, what if ALL the BRAIN DRAIN and sometimes consequential waste from Africa was reversed voluntarily by Africans deciding to go back en masse or forcibly through a mass deportation?! The latter alternative is a little harsh I know, but hear me out. We spend so much time planning for opportunities and routines that our limited imaginations are capable of yet there is so much more out there in the world and sometimes life has a way of throwing us into the deep end where we realize we knew how to swim after all. In some of the places where some African’s can’t imagine living because they can choose not to, what is they were forced to go there and make things happen? How many people have the story of coming to America with $20 [or whatever paltry amount] in their back pocket and cleaning toilets and working fast food to make ends meet? If all those people with the skills and life experience they have since gained, what a dramatic impact they would have on the labor market in their respective countries or whatever other they chose? I like to think what a wonderful world it would be.





Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s