The first call

The very first call this morning brought me to a huge apartment complex, right to the front of the Leasing Office. As an expert already in everything UBER, I knew this was the wrong location so I called the rider, Miss Jasmine, but it was a mistake. She ordered me to go to building 29th. She must think I knew every building in this complex. There’s something in her voice that told me she’s not in the mood.

After a few turns I found Miss Jasmine and her not so bueno mood right at the corner of one of the darkest parking area in town. No wonder she’s moody! Good morning sir, she said. I like hi Jasmine. How’s the morning going for you? I am good. My freaking husband didn’t show up until just a few minutes ago claiming she’s baby sitting for his ex. I was like, oh ok but please keep it to yourself, especially your grumpiness. Oh Gosh. 

Not only was she moody very early in the morning, the ride was only 3 minutes long. Duh, please walk to your work. Hehehe. Nahhh. I guess that’s too much money to leave it at the complex. She paid about $7 for the ride, of which $2.98 is mine. Uber made more than I do on this one ride but half of it is fee to the city of Seattle so they actually got less. 

Every time a get a short ride like this, where the money is not as good, I remind myself that the last time I paid for a taxi was from the Post Office to the Yap Memorial Hospital for 50 cents. I shouldn’t be picky. 

Jayjay's favorite quote

“Those who refuse to learn from history are condemned to repeat it.” Santayana

The second call

The very next rider’s name is John and he came all the way from Kenya. He left his job and his family to look for better opportunities here in the USA. “Kenya is a very rich country yet the people are so poor over there.” John said. He went on to say there’s too much corruption and that’s one of the reasons he had to leave. He left his family back home in Kenya and now works as a driver for a furniture store. 

John told me there’s no hope for this generation. He’s looking forward to the younger generation of Kenyans that may bring integrity to the Kenyan government and allow the people to believe in its government again. He plans to bring his entire family here to the states because he sees no hope in Kenya. 

He turned and asked me where I am from and what’s the situation in our government. I told him our country, the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) is a young nation with very limited resources and land mass. I told him majority of the government revenue comes from people like him and I that pay tax into the United States treasury. I told him the US government gives millions of our tax dollars to the FSM government hoping that they would use the money to develop its economy to where it can sustain itself. 

“Really? So you and I going to work early in the morning do help your country?” John said with a smile. I said yes sir. Thank you for contributing to the betterment of my people back home. Then I told him, I hope they use the money for its purpose and not just to personally enriching themselves. There’s corruption in every government and I pray that our FSM government is not as bad as other places are. 

John then repeated what he told me. He lost all hope in the current generation but he believes that the young generation of Kenyans will find a way to bring unity and peace and more importantly a government where everyone believes in. 

Jun's favorite quote

“The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The Optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” Churchill 

The third call

Mr. Saiid was born in Somalia and within days left with family to Kenya, fleeing the civil war and on to the USA. He told me he grew up in refugee camps and that he appreciated me conversing with him about his background. He was amazed by how interested I am in knowing more about his culture, tradition, religious belief and life in general. 

I told Mr. Saiid that I am a Yapese blogger and wanted to share to the world my conversations with my riders with the hope that everyone can see how much commonality we have. I told him I am student of Anthropology, one that hungers to understand the lifeways of people, not only in the past but the very present. 

Mr. Saiid directing me to his destination because Google map wants the opposite route of where he normally takes while telling me about what he thinks of what’s going on in his home country. 

“Somalia is very rich in raw materials and recently they found lots of oil but the problem is tribalism.” Mr. Saiid said. “See in Somalia, everyone looks the same, practice basically the same religion, eats the same kind of food, but the only thing that different is their tribal identity.” Mr. Saiid continued. He went on to tell me that he suspects the people in the government have to find a way of dividing people so to have a reason for turmoil to hide the corruption. He told me that there were many good people that became politicians and once in there, they become corrupted themselves. 

He told me although his family took him out of Somalia, he still hope that someday he can be part of the solution and hopefully bring peace to the people. He told me the Somalian youth in America are very much aware of what they can bring and he looks forward to helping his generation breaks the barriers, including tribalism. 

cal's favorite quote

“Every Accomplishment starts with the decision to try.” Unknown.  

rosie's favorite quote

If not US, Who? If not NOW, When? 

Pike place, seattle, wa

Seattle is home to thousands if not millions of immigrants that come here for the many opportunities. 

Conclusion

One was moody, the other came here by choice and the other by circumstance. All three of my first riders this morning were immigrants. One from Mexico, the other from Kenya and the last from Somalia. 

I called myself very fortunate to be in this position where I can meet people from every corner of the globe. 

Although the circumstances and where we came from may differ, we all came here for the opportunities. One thing that’s very clear to me when talking to people is that everyone wanted to eventually return home. 

If one day, Micronesia can provide and support the kind of things we do here, I am sure many of us will return. And just like the other folks from other countries, I too am very hopeful that the younger generation will be empowered and tooled to do the right thing for our country’s future. 

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