We live something that I think is quite unique. Not many people in their lives would live in this other dimension. Here it is: in our passport country we are considered low income. In the USA, we qualify for government aid, we qualify for charity at hospitals, we qualify for reduced lunch programs, etc…
In our host country we are considered rich. If we have the means to get on an airplane and fly around the world, if we have the means to purchase groceries at a store, if we have the means to drive a vehicle, if we have the means to pay for water and electricity to our home, if we have the means to rent a large home than therefore we are rich.
To live in this other dimension is quite difficult because we have to balance saving some finances in order to hopefully have at least enough to pay our bills in the USA every month and hopefully have enough to live on in our host country (food, water, rent, electricity, gas, school fees). So since we are seen as rich (by the way we are Caucasian, so that automatically makes us rich in the eyes of Cameroonians), we have people continually coming to us for financial help, for food, for medicine, for clothing, for shoes and the list goes on. We do help and want to help. Every August we usually enter into one or two commitments to pay the school fees so someone’s child can attend public school (one must pay here, it’s not like in the USA where tax dollars provide the funds for education). We have a deaf friend whom we help financially who lives downtown. We help our househelp, our guard, occasional yard worker by being employers in a place where unemployment is extremely high. We help them all not only through employment, but also their children, medical needs, travel expenses, etc… This is not a blog to pat ourselves on our backs, because it’s not us. We are the vehicle, it’s those who give every month who are supporting us who give to these people.
So when we are scammed by others, it’s hard to overcome. It’s hard to not be cynical and hardened by the experience. We have been scammed on several occasions. There was a man who when we first arrived preyed on us (new, excited, wet behind the ears people). It took several months before we knew it was all a scam. Then recently there was a deaf man who showed up at our gate. He wrote on a piece of paper that he needed eye surgery for cataracts and needed glasses. He shared that he is already deaf and to loss his sight would leave him dependent on others for everything. We paid for his medical needs. He came back a week later saying he would like to travel to his village, so that he can live in the village permanently with his extended family and needed money for transport. We gave him the money and wished him the best. Then he started showing up daily asking for money for this, that and everything in between. He wouldn’t answer to why he wasn’t in his village and continued asking for more money. Then we saw an email from another family who was asking the community at large if others have given to this man. Soon several people were sharing how they have given him significant funds for a wide range of medical needs, transport, food, etc… it became obvious he was conning us all. It’s hard to discern who truly needs our help and who is just trying to milk us. It’s hard to always be viewed as a walking money bag that needs to be shaken. Please pray for us to discern who to give to and that we are cheerful givers.