'You Can Go Home Again'   by -H.G.S.A.

Come this August I make my way back to Ethiopia for a semester. While most of my peers will be attending the first few weeks of their final year in college, I will be getting a crash course on business in Africa. As they crack open the books into the early hours of the next day, I will be traveling to south Sudan pushing investment in my continent's newest nation. And I dare say that when they graduate and settle into their new lives and careers I will be even more firmly rooted in my dedication to my continent.

I am not special only in that I said no to the "drain" before I ever moved away; and though I feel quite pretentious placing myself under the moniker of "the brain" as I have yet to graduate from my institute of higher learning, it seems that's how I can get my point across. So dear reader, dear diaspora, fellow immigrant of western birth; you that are "the brain" take a moment please to think of what good you could do, what we could accomplish if we were all instilled with the idea that whoever said "you can't go home again" was utterly full of it. You can. We can. And we can make it so much better.

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A father of a good friend once gave a speech in which he shared the news story of two teenage boys from Guinea, Yaguina Koita and Fode Tounkara, who were discovered dead aboard an airliner headed for Europe. The young men had succumbed to the lack of oxygen and freezing temperatures after stowing away amongst the landing gear. The only thing to tell their story was a letter found with their belongings that read: "Help us. We suffer a lot in Africa. We have no rights as children. We have no food. We have war and illness. We have schools but lack education. We want to study so we can be like you, in Africa." "In Africa" the addition of those two words resonated with me. I make no affront, I want this to tug at your heartstrings as it did mine. I want their words to make you feel if mine fail to make you think. I want you to think of the promise Yaguina and Fode could have brought home to their native Guinea if they had made it back with that sought after education. Make no mistake, these boys had every intention of returning with their new found "brains" even after being pushed and pressured to flee by the same reasons so many before them had.

Truthfully, I have very little room to speak knowledgeably on the sufferings of those who leave their country for a better life, as seeing first hand and feeling first hand are miles apart. My life in Ethiopia was far from suffered, yet I know there is a lot that drives 'us' away from our home. However for the affluent and destitute of our nations alike, and with every mother from Peru to Angola pushing their child to be a doctor or a lawyer the common reason is the pursuit of higher education. However with areas such as sub-Saharan Africa having one of the worlds lowest university enrollment rates at roughly 5%, and the budgets, caliber, and resources of most universities in the developing world generally trailing that of their western counterparts, it is no surprise that "the brain drain" continues as people migrate towards opportunity. Across the developing world achieving higher education (whether it be in the US, Canada, Europe, or for some Australia) is paramount amongst families.

However you that are "the brain", you know this; you are the the future of the developing world. You are the the Bengali Bio-Chem major who hopes to be a doctor; you are that Guatemalan junior who plans to be a teacher; or the Gambian at Hofstra who changes the world. You are Yaguina and Fode. We could all get our shiny diplomas and live comfortably; get married and have 'the 2.5 kids and get a Labrador', buy that house with the white picket fence; that car with the keyless start and live happily ever after intently focused on ourselves. I can't. I won't. I have been given my opportunity to return to my continent and make a difference, I have put into effect what one German professor called the "brain gain" and what you can do too. As college students, as university graduates, as working professionals, and leaders in their field, the diaspora can go home again. I will take that leap this august. When the time comes for you, will you?

So dear reader, dear diaspora, fellow immigrant of western birth; you that are "the brain" take a moment please to think what good you could do.