Episode Three

Home Again

One week turned into another, and Clarisse kept getting rejected for jobs she desired, or the offers were strange. Her dream of a fancy job was fading fast. To make money, she had to take all sorts of jobs, such as home helper for an American family, waitress, barrister while at home, she offered hairdressing services for the few people around for very little pay. Some employers and customers were not consistent with payment, others refused to sign contracts and others wanted to add so much work to what was agreed without any additional compensation. 

One warm evening, while listening to the call to prayer, Clarisse was at a cheap internet cafe. She was looking for any job, not just the fancy ones in Dubai. Suddenly, an ad with bright flashing lights popped up: “Want a Great Accounting Job? Earn More Money in Bahrain!”

Intrigued, Clarisse clicked on the ad. Bahrain, a smaller and quieter city than Dubai, seemed more relaxed and needed accountants too. Maybe, just maybe, this was a good chance! With some hope and maybe a little too much optimism, Clarisse gathered the little savings she had been able to assemble, packed her things and got on another plane and off she flew to Bahrain hoping the new location would smile at her.

Bahrain turned out to be a big disappointment. The city wasn’t relaxed like they promised, it felt stuck and boring. The high-paying jobs were fake news, like a mirage in the desert. She went back to the menial jobs, horrible bosses, disappointing customers. It felt like an evil cycle. It seemed like you needed special connections to get anything done there, not just following the rules.

After a month of looking, she got robbed on this fateful day. Clarisse was sitting on a roadside seat, feeling defeated. Loud music from a cafe played a song about following your dreams, but it felt meaningless to her. With tears in her eyes, she decided to go back home to Douala. Her desire to leave a strange land overshadowed her strong will to stay away from aunty Mami. Clarisse went back to Douala.

Douala was hot and smelly as always. Auntie Mami wasn’t happy to see her. She looked smug and said in a mean voice, “See, Clarisse, the world isn’t easy. Maybe you should have listened to me and learned something more useful. See how you have wasted an opportunity many are dying to have! You ungrateful child!”

Clarisse felt awful, but she wouldn’t let Auntie Mami win. She went to her small room, feeling like a failure. That night, she prayed to God, feeling angry and sad. But afterwards, she felt a little calmer and stronger.

The next day, she didn’t go to Auntie Mami. Instead, she went to church from her childhood. The familiar songs and Pastor Wara’s kind words made her feel better. Pastor Wara was known for his wisdom and strength.

“Life isn’t always easy, Clarisse,” he said in a calm voice. “There are ups and downs, wrong turns, and dead ends. But God is always with us, even when we can’t see the way forward.”

Pastor Wara’s words gave Clarisse hope. She wasn’t giving up on her dreams, but maybe she needed a new plan. With fresh determination and a prayer in her heart, Clarisse started looking for new ways to use her skills with numbers, one step at a time.

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