Immigrant’s journals entries - Diary of an immigrant - Diary of a migrant worker -


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Getting to Know…The Kitchen Porters -

 KP for Short (Diary of an Immigrant or

 Foreigner as a Kitchen Porter or Kitchen

 Steward in the United Kingdom)


Despite the vast material wealth that Democratic Republic of Congo is endowed with, the country has remained backward in terms of wealth distribution. The country has a mineral deposit aggregated to $24 trillion but this treasure has done nothing to alleviate poverty and give citizens a source of income and financial freedom.

Over 50 percent of the country’s population live on a daily income of less than $1. There is no single excuse as to why a country endowed with billions of dollars of resources can project majority of its citizens to this extreme poverty. Democratic Republic of Congo has been subjected to a slew of dictatorial rulers and this is one of the many reasons why the country cannot exploit its sleeping potentials and concentrate on improving the lives of its citizens. However, the country has gained enough political stability to attempt a democratic government.

On 4th May 2006, Moses embarked on a journey, a journey towards financial freedom. The journey he embarked on would get him out of his home in Goma Congo to United Kingdom. The journey that took several months of physical planning and required arduous physical exertion over the hundreds of miles from his rural home to the city and eventually to the Promised Land.  




His story

Moses narrated his journey to the UK’’ I think am the only person in the world who has had the most incredible journey of escape’’, at the age of 18, I was brutally separated from my mother by my dictatorial government which went on to abuse every Congolese in the country’’. He narrated.

The mass graves in the Banana plantation in Congo is a shiny evidence of the second Rwanda genocide and its effects on the people of DRC.  ‘’ The worst of all was the 1996 coalition of the Rwandan and the Ugandan armies together with the Congolese opposition leader Laurent Kabila. The war elapsed and my mother and older sister were nowhere to be seen. By that time I was out of the village for my college education in a University in Kinshasa. The news got me unaware and I thought that my school life would end. I had to stay strong and complete my end of semester exams before I went home for the burial’’. He explained.

‘’From this time, I grew up without any mother figure around me. My mother was a casual laborer in a sugar company and hence she was the only hope we had.  My father was so irresponsible and he never gave an eye to the family even when my mother was alive. We grew without someone to give us hope, confidence and support in life. My mother’s death was the beginning of trouble, I was the second born and hence I was left to be a supportive figure to the rest of the family’’ He said.  




The father-child love is deemed very important in raising children but this is what Moses and the siblings had to go through.  Sometimes the psychological effects of our childhood experiences can have some impactful effects on how we grow. Moses had a tough time growing and being the 2nd born in the family, he had to support the father in most of the chores and financial crumbles. ‘’ Going into therapy to cope with the problems that had already surrounded us is the most important thing that I leant as I was growing up in a toxic family’’ Moses said.

‘’After this unfortunate event, I began a job hunt with the proactive help of my uncle who was working with an NGO so that at least I can be able to support my two brothers and still feed myself’’. He continued.

Moses had a family of four to feed including himself and the father all by himself. ‘’ I was offered a job in a mining company where my father was also working and I felt like turning the offer down but the needs couldn’t let me. Here, you were paid according to your effort and if you were not so proactive then you could end up with few Dollars that couldn’t even put food on the table for two weeks’’. He exclaimed. For the first two weeks I made some little money and together with the little help of my father, our life steadily came back on track and we could at least take three meals a day like other families’’. 

‘’My father was a drunkard, he could hardly save money from the mining job. However, since the death of my mother, he came back to his senses and cut on his leisure. We raised money and within some few months my brothers were able to go back to school through our little support and the support from the Government’s Constituency Development Funds’’. Moses narrated.

The African issue sometimes is difficult, you have to put up with several problems along the way in order to make it in life. The life that Moses wanted couldn’t get to him that easily. ‘’ This is not the kind of life that I prayed for my family to have. My father remarried and shifted to live with his new wife in the small town of Tutu. This was the beginning of another tough journey. With the divided attention, he couldn’t provide enough to us. I had to seek refuge from all the places I thought I can be able to establish a life in’’ He said.  




‘’I wanted to feed my family, support them and complete what my mother started and to do this I had to think of ways. I had to go somewhere. Somewhere that I can secure a job that is stable enough to give my siblings all what they needed. I heard stories from all over, how some countries like USA and UK supported their youths in matters of employment. The news that even the smallest job in UK can give you enough money for daily expenses’’ He said.

‘’I had to now go and find a life out there just like some of the friends that I used to play football with when I was in High School. Most of them had already made it out there and it was evident’’, He said.

His claims are true, you can be able to greatly differentiate the life of those who worked broad and those struggling with life in the DRC soil. A glance at his village proves this point. His friends once lived in thatched huts but now they boast of homes with concrete walls, some sporting DSTV dishes and running water. They made it through the hard way but they have something which he couldn’t find in their home country.

His friends’ families have also changed significantly, their families can have 3 meals a day and they can also be able to educate their children and siblings courtesy of remittances sent from locals that are now floating in success in European countries. This is the kind of life that Moses wanted. ‘’ Farming is our mainstay in Congo but it’s not so reliable. You wait for two years for cocoa plants to mature before you start earning any money from it’’ He said.

Moses had passed through a lot and now he had to choose money over the family. He knew that even if he stayed close to his family just to watch over and feed them with the little money he made from mining and farming, nothing good would come out of it. ‘’I couldn’t sit down and watch things go on like this. My only friend is now gone, he went to Europe and is now building nice houses, buying good cars and has a happy family’’ He says. Lots of other people in my locals’ are doing this and they were feeding me with their success stories. They even promised to connect me to a job in the UK if I was willing and able to work there’’. He continued.

The fact that Moses had friends in Europe, most specifically in the UK made his way through simple. ‘’ Days passed and now one of my neighbors and a close relative went to the UK for studies. He made it to the UK through a government scholarship for masters. Every December holiday when he came back to DRC he had all the sweet stories of how there are plenty of jobs in the UK even for those that required little academic qualifications and a simple aspect of expertise. This is what motivated me’ ’He continued.  




Moses had to make an ultimate decision of joining his friends and some of the relatives in the UK. ‘’I had to make that decision and I started working and saving. At this point in time, my siblings were suffering but we had to make that sacrifice for once’’ He narrated.

After years of suffering, months of savings and sleepless nights of hard work, the time had come for Moses to make his final decision. ‘’I knew very many people in Europe and others specifically in UK’’ He said.

‘’ After making this decision, I learned how to spend less, save more and make more money through side hustles. It wasn’t easy because I had to sit back and watch my family suffer. But what cleared the guilt that I was feeling is the fact that I was looking forward to a breakthrough from this clouds of poverty’’ Moses said.

In his testimony, Moses explained how hard it was to raise the required money to escape from his home country. ‘’ I suffered a lot in this move, however, I embarked on selling electronics in my home town and within a year, I was done with the savings, I had already saved $3500 and I could wait no more. I wanted to see myself in the gold country where I would wash away all my horrific experiences’’ He explained.

‘’I wanted to connect with Dan, my close relative who was already there and was now in his final semester in school. I knew that he is the only person who can help me out through this journey. Most of the other friends that I knew were too busy with their lives and were therefore unreliable’’ He said.  




His journey to the UK

Now the day was near and Moses had to organize all the required documents in order to fly to the UK. The funny thing is that he had no enough money for all the expenses that would be encountered through the entire journey. ‘’ I didn’t care about money any more. I just wanted to pay for my legal documents and see myself out of this place. That is all what I had in mind’’. He said.

‘’Throughout all this years of struggles, the day had come and I felt I was ready. But every time I stepped out of the gate and left my family behind I felt something heavy pulling me back. Now I was burdening my aging grandmother with a family that the father doesn’t know how it is fed or even how we were surviving. That is life, I knew that one day I would settle all the debts that I had left behind’’ He continued.

‘’Despite the different opinions and different stands in the family, all of them were gathered to watch me go. Some of them didn’t want to let me go. I was at least helping to raise money for the family’s basic needs but now that I was gone, they felt like it would never come a time that all the suffering will go away. All the time something worse was happening and I knew everybody had lost hope. Nobody was confident with my decision’’.

‘’This was my major step in life, an important moment that I had in my life. However, I hadn’t thought about how significant it would be to my family. The problem is that my family was split. My grandmother from my mother’s side had to stay with my family and wait for a miracle from heaven. She hadn’t spoken to my dad for years and so I knew things won’t be good’’ He continued.  




‘’The life that I was waiting for was within a touching distance. The familiar life that’s in the UK was now close to me. I could see it and figure out how good things would be in the near future. My sibling and grandmother watched me as I sip my last cup of strong tea. That is all we could afford for a goodbye meal’’ Moses narrated.

His grandmother just like other caring parents had to give him a comprehensive advice through a lengthy conversation that they held a moment before he left for the airport. Moses continued with his story. ‘’There followed a careful conversation as my grandmother and my younger brothers focused on me and the impending trip. I knew that I couldn’t avoid my grandma pieces of good advice and generous words’’.

When the awkward time to leave came, my brothers were all over me crying and missing me. They have never thought that of all the people they could rely on am now gone. My mother was the only hope when I was back in school, when she died I was left as the only hope and I too was leaving them. I have had bad moments in my life but this was my worst. The last time I cried was when I watched my brothers drop out of school and go to work in a quarry’’. He continued.

‘’The world is so unsafe and my grandma thought that I was supposed to stay and hustle in my country’’ People start thinking that when you are going far away then you are just running away from them’’ Though this is true, people have to run away, away from the old version of life to a new one. ‘’I usually had a feeling that my family was the best, what they do for me is enough, but now I have to go and exploit my goals. That is the life men want, the life of struggles but the life of making it ’’ Moses said.

Moses didn’t live far away from the capital city and hence he only had a 2 hours’ drive to the airport.  He now knew that the journey to the UK has started and things are going to change. ‘’When I left my grandmother and my brothers, things changed, I got feelings of loneliness. There was that feeling fighting me that made me feel like I was doing the wrong thing. However, I had to go. I had to seek a better life and try to make ends meet. ‘’ Moses said.  




Flight experience

The first flight experience is unforgettable by anybody. Moses still had a clear picture of how things were in the airport and how he got up in the air. ‘’ I still remember everything in detail. The experience seems like yesterday. I feel like I have come to the UK just the other day. The good thing is that I had made a travel plan to travel with my longtime friend. He was a Nurse in the UK and so I felt somewhat secure. I didn’t get lonely and things were going on well. He had informed me that he booked a May flight and so I had to do the same. To at least travel together with someone who was familiar with experience.’’ He continued

‘’ This was my first flight and you can guess the happiness. I and my friend were at the airport by 10 am. After some chat I went for the security check. The flight was scheduled to leave the country by 01:40 pm. The only stressful part of the checking was when the security said that I had too much of the luggage that were not allowed in the airplane. The airplane allows each person to have a luggage of at most 23 kg. That was the worst experience and I had to cut on the load and only leave the manageable and essential things’’ Moses said.

‘’ Tired and weakened emotionally that I am leaving my family that I had known for 23 years behind and flying to another country that I had no information about, I had a hard time convincing myself to board. The last few minutes were the most emotional times that I have ever had in my life. The reality is that I have never stayed away from my family except for those three months of an academic semester’’ Moses said.

Leaving family and friends behind feels like a part of you has gone and is lost completely. ‘’The feeling of comfort that I had with family and friends couldn’t clear off my mind. ‘’ I have to admit that there were a lot of emotional stages that came between the day I made up my mind to leave the country and the time I was at the airport. I was so filled with sadness, fear and a bit of excitement backed by unexplained emotions’’. He said.  




I finally made up my mind and boarded the plane strongly covering my tears. I have never travelled by air and therefore this was a whole new experience. An experience that I have never got before. At first, the plane went on slowly on the runway and it just felt like I was in a bus all this time. It eventually took an about-turn and the speed increased gradually. This is the time I got that strange feeling that I will be in the air for the next 9 hours. The worst part of it is when the plane took off. It felt like I had left a piece of me in Kinshasa and got in the air, just half of me. He told me.

‘’The feeling in the air was breathe taking. Everything that is on the ground was now fading away. The houses, the land, trees and roads were now looking like lines, toys and so on. The city became small and as the plane got high in the air, it eventually faded away too and now we were in another world. A world without trees, buildings, roads and other people rather than us in the plane. The whole vicinity was made up of a solid fog. This made things worse for me, knowing that you are floating in a place where there was no tarmac or anything holding the plane’’ He narrated.

‘’The time flew and we were provided with food in the airplane by air cabin crews with a great smile. This is something that I have never thought happens in the air. So it caught me unawares. My friend was used to it. It was a bit sad for me that we had secured different seats on the plane and therefore we could not go chatting and sharing experiences and stories. The food was quite good, delicious and tasty’’ He said.

 ‘’Now there was this old man sited on the seat next to me but he fell asleep. I felt like I was all alone on the plane because everybody was minding their own business. However, there was this kid with her mum on the other hand and she was all funny. She was a Congolese and we had a good talk and fun moment. I wanted just to talk to someone and clear the scary feeling that I was floating on air’’ ‘’ the plane engine was loud, it roared and made me, more and more scared. My ears were humming as the plane got high in the air although later on things changed and everything got better’’ He said.  




Arriving in the UK

When a plane is landing, most of the people do not even notice until the last one minute when it’s almost touching down. This is the time that you feel like you are dropping from a tower but it is not obviously as extreme. Moses continued narrating the story that he still has in mind as if it happened yesterday. ‘’Time flew fast and very soon we landed in the busy Birmingham airport. My ears popped several times and this was very annoying. Birmingham airport was awesome. Many planes were lined up maybe because this is an international airport that dealt with planes from all corners of the world. Our plane was at the 70 numbered stop and so you can imagine the view. I must admit that I fell in love with the airport’’ He said.

 ‘’the airport was so busy and everybody was rushing from side to side. I have never seen such a huge and organized crowd of people. I am used to the railway stations in my country where you have to sweat finding your way from the busy crowd’’ He continued.

At least Moses had a companion, someone who had always been in the area and knew all the corners of the city. Else he could have got lost at one point or the other. ‘’ I had my friend with me, at least he knew everywhere in the city and therefore I couldn’t get lost. Dan knew that I had some company and so he was not in a hurry to fetch me’’. After spending some few minutes in the airport clearing some of the issues, we left the airport to the city. This is something that I have never thought will ever happen in my life. Making it to another world. When we got a taxi to a hotel where we were supposed to spend our night, this is the time that reality unfolded. A painful and a happy test of another country, another world that I thought could wash all my struggles away. This is the time the absence of my family, most especially my younger brothers pained me the most. I knew that they were now suffering, they were alive physically but probably emotionally dead. They had lost all hope but still prayed for my success. I was all they had and I promised myself that everything will be alright soon. I would have a better way of supporting my siblings’’ He sobbed.

Moses knew that the past was not supposed to pull him down. He had all the determination of making it in life and making the dreams of his family back at home come to reality. ‘’I had already made up my mind. I think that is the reason why I had to admit the fact that they will suffer, but I wanted the suffering to be for a short period of time. I wanted to have a way of sending my brother who was 7 years old back to school. It pained me the most seeing him being sent home for fees and other upkeep money almost every trimester’’ He said. 





The life in the UK

‘’The life here in UK seemed quite the same as in my country apart from the tall buildings and the busy crowd. I must admit that the city was beautiful and I fell in love with it at the first sight. This is the place where I had dreamed of. A place where there is peace and political stability. People walked as if they had no problems at all. The police were busy but busy walking around. In my country they were busy chasing criminals’’ He continued. ‘’The city looked so beautiful even in the night. With well-maintained streets, roads and tall government and private structures. It looked like a small heaven for a person like me. The excitement ran over me and I even fell asleep in the taxi and missed a clear night shot of the city’’ He said.

No matter how difficult things get, the feeling of achieving your dreams is always prime. ‘’ I had made it this far and a feeling of excitement had overtaken me. I could just smile and forget all the worries that I had experienced before’’ He continued.

Even if the step made is small but puts you closer to achieving what you want in life, you will rediscover that little sparks of excitement will spur you unto the next step towards achieving your goals.

‘’It was difficult when I first arrived and it took time for me to settle. Things were different from the experiences at home and hence it couldn’t be easy. The streets were confusing and my time walking around was overwhelming. I settled with Dan in the hostels for some time before I could get a clear picture of the city and eventually do what brought me in this country’ ’He said.

‘’The next week when I had settled completely, I got up and couldn’t wait to see what it was like here in this beautiful country. Even though I was a little anxious, I looked at my new surroundings and felt at home. The place was different. Everyone and everything anywhere seemed so new to me. As the time gradually moved, I learned several things. I remember the people here were kind, kinder than I thought. This is the main thing that made me understand the surrounding and be understood as well’’ He explained.  




‘’the culture was different, life was different and I had to appreciate several aspects of life in the UK so that I can have an easy time here. Gradually, I became more accustomed to the surrounding and different cultures. I came to accept people around and their life. People in the UK had a different way of life. Unlike in DRC where people lived an open life, here people were a bit private. You wouldn’t trespass without a valid reason. Sometimes you could get yourself in trouble by making the slightest mistakes’’ He explained.

Life in another country can be overwhelming. You have to put up with their language and accept most of the things. Moses had a good time because he had already learned enough English in college back at home. ‘’ I didn’t struggle a lot, I am good in English and therefore communication was easy. I saw some of the people struggle here simply because they didn’t know how to communicate. Dan was one of them, when he came to the UK, he didn’t really know enough of English language and it was very hard. He was a student, how the hell could he make it without some basics in English. How would he approach those exams that he had to explain answers in English? Life was difficult, he had to carry a dictionary every lesson and had to look up words just to ask questions. With me things were easy, I could communicate with drivers, the police and even those people that I met in café or sometimes Dan’s roommates’’ He said.

‘’ The environment was especially secure and the people too were friendly. I felt that I shouldn’t be afraid because I was making a couple of friends a day. We could learn from each other and therefore things got easy for me. The most important thing that I like to talk about is that I felt secure and started to feel like UK was my other sweet home’’ Moses said.  




Life challenges in the UK

Relocating abroad can sometimes turn out to be harder than you anticipated. Moses was no exception. He had to deal with some of the main challenges and some of them were life threatening. ‘’One of my worst problem is that I was living with Dan. He is a student who had little money and therefore we could sometimes cut so much on our expenses to spare something for tomorrow. I felt like I was burdening him and therefore this made things difficult for me. Sometimes I felt like moving out but had nowhere else to go. That is life and good thing he was understanding. This made me relax a bit’’ Moses explained.

Moving around and confronting your life in a foreign country without a due familiarity with the legal procedures and processes can sometimes be challenging. Sometimes there are those requirements that you need to register for one thing or the other in order to fulfill certain country requirements. This was also a challenging issue to Moses. ‘’I found myself in confrontations with the UK police simply because of things I didn’t even understand. The problem was familiarity with the legal requirements of the country. I found myself trespassing in some premises or other time omitting security checks. This was a problem but later I came to familiarize with everything and now I know all what is legally required from me. I can be able to go anywhere without worries. At times I had to stay indoors for the fear of getting in trouble’’ He explained.

Day after day of cold weather my sound idyllic. Perhaps the unexpected cold of the UK winter that sometimes catches people off guard.  ‘’ Africa is hot. I remember we spent all our days back at home with vests and T-shirts on. That is not the case here. When I first landed in this country, I didn’t think of weather as a factor to consider. The problem is it got so cold some of the time and made it impossible for me to step outside.  




The saying goes-no man is an island. You cannot live on your own and so you need to find social outlets. You need to have friends that will give meaning to your life.  ‘’ After I left the already established network of friends back home, the first few weeks in the UK were manned with loneliness. I only had to spend my time in the house and sometimes taking a walk some meters from home because I wasn’t used to the environment. Dan was always busy with school things and therefore I couldn’t have enough time with him. I had to fill the gap and find another social network. However, filling the gap with new friends and activities was difficult in the UK. The accent was different and I couldn’t sometimes get what someone is saying correctly. The good thing is that I could speak English fluently and with time things were normal and I could communicate with most people’’ He explained.

‘’Talk about missing the family. The last three months of my stay in the UK was characterized with thoughts and memories from all the activities and the moments that we shared with my old grandmother. She would cook delicious meals and always advise us on every matter that she thought was relevant. I hear people talking about Skype and other video call tools. Those are things that are not known by locals in my area and therefore there was no visual communication. You can agree with me that separating with family is the hardest part of living abroad’’ He said.  




Job hunt

Too often people’s money-spinning schemes hardly allow them to survive the turbulence of a financial crisis abroad. Adding the pressure of money worries to the simple life and the beauty of UK is a very overwhelming issue. Moses knew that whatever opportunity he opted to pursue, it was to be sustainable. ‘’ I only had just enough money to survive for a couple of months and at this point, finding a job was my number one priority. I must be lucky because the second restaurant I sought work in happened to be a Chinese restaurant that had some openings’’ He said.

‘’The restaurant had a kitchen porter role available and I was ecstatic. We agreed on a test shift later in the week before I was offered the task. I was a good cook and I took most of the kitchen roles at home. In addition, I had done a certificate in hospitality and catering. This was an additional remark that got me the job without due struggles’’ He continued.

Moses had made it to the next step but he couldn’t have enough confidence in himself ‘’I had limited experience since I had done some kitchen roles one time or the other in the past but I wasn’t very sure that I can offer satisfying services. However, the need for a job had overtook me and I had to jump at any opportunity that came my way’ ’He said

The day had come and he had to be set for the test. ‘’ I was a little confused at first. I experienced what I was supposed to do simply by watching other people do it in the restaurant and I wanted to be part of the team. Most of the people that worked in that restaurant were not from UK, it was a combination of people from different parts of the world. I was the only black person in the team and I found it as an honor to work in a Chinese restaurant’’. He continued.

The head chef checked the Rota and found me an odd hour here and there. After some few days working in the restaurant, I got employed permanently. The restaurant was undergoing a massive recruitment and I wasn’t the only new person working there’’ He continued. 




Experience in the kitchen

‘’ I think the supervisor knew I understood how it works, he didn’t even pay much attention on the way I did the work. I can bet he was just looking at the way I carried myself. I have to admit that I am the most thankful person in the entire world for having a rewarding resume of my life. I had the most diverse experience of my life’s journey. The work was good and tedious at the same time. It attracted a good pay for me and this motivated me to work even harder. On the other hand as even the most qualified person can tell you, sometimes I had to start from the ground and get my hands dirty’’ He narrated.

At times doing something for the first time can be challenging. What Moses liked about his job is that he had some natural qualifications in particular areas. ‘’ I liked the fact that even if I forced myself to find anything to say about my area of experience is that I am qualified in some areas of the kitchen that mostly do not  need any experience’’ He said.

‘’This was a Chinese restaurant and you understand well how Chinese dishes are complicated. It was good to learn about the areas of kitchen and the kind of the utensils that they were using because that is what I was mandated to neatly maintain’’ He said.

‘’When I first heard of a kitchen steward, I wondered if anybody else has ever done this job and if yes then what was it like. I have heard from friends around here that it was a little crappy but I just needed more opinions. I had to load and unload dishes, do the salads and fetch some things from the store. I don’t think this is all what the job was about’’ He said.

‘’Sometimes the job is tedious. I felt like giving up. Standing for 9 or 12 hours in a day was quite tiring’’ At one time I thought of giving up but things were tough for me. I was willing to do any work as long as I am paid enough money’’. Moses sobbed.

I am standing in Moses’s shoes and they are moist. I could notice the sweat running down the small of his back and dripping down into his eyes. That is the life that he came to England to seek. He wanted financial freedom and now he has a chance of making the money he wanted.  




Being a kitchen steward or Kitchen porter (KP) is a very demanding job. ‘’ I had to work three nights in a row and I came home sometimes past 11 pm. Other times I sleep until 2am and I am up again. This was the most difficult job of my life. On the other hand the salary was the best that I have ever had. That is why I held on so long. The overall experience for me was fun’’. He said.

‘’It was an easy job for me with pretty good pay. But when there is so much work to do I can tell you that it gets so hard… you have dirty water absorbing in your hands and sometimes dealing with dirty issues in the hotel. Constantly moving and working the whole shift. Not getting time to rest was a common thing simply because we were only two kitchen porters in the whole restaurant that was so busy. What this means is that you can work up to 8+ hours without a break. I think you can imagine the kind of experience that I had here before I got used to some of the things.

‘’ One of the many problems that I experienced was that the restaurant didn’t have the service staff and hence they will leave food on plates for me to deal with. They will pickle dishes haphazardly in the sink, making the stack to top and worst of all I had to deal with them alone. Apart from helping, they would just stand there and chat with each other’’. He said.

Though being a Kitchen porter or Kitchen assistant Moses found himself fast becoming an integral part of the Chinese restaurant. He had proven enough that he can be dependable and reliable. The skills he had obtained throughout his time working in the restaurant had provided a great platform for his career within hospitality. He has gradually become a valuable asset to the company. He had since then been recognized as a valid member of the team and praised for his hard work and commitment by the restaurant management. ‘’My Chinese supervisor gained some trusts in me and couldn’t anymore spend a lot of time supervising my every step. This is how things went, I even thought I was lucky because my starting salary was $2 per hour. Working for 10 hours in a day could attract a whopping $20 dollars in a day. That was beyond what a primary school teacher in my country made in a day. As the day went, I was getting a higher daily pay because I proved to be productive and valuable to the restaurant. One thing that motivated me was the need for money. I didn’t want to attract any penalties that could at one point or the other lead to a cut in my salary. Again I wanted to always keep my job. I didn’t want to offend the management and end up being fired’’ He explained.  




‘’A few weeks into the job, I had made enough money to rent a room and live on my own. Most of the time I stood at the balcony and thought about my people back at home. How life is taking them and if they really missed me. It is sometimes so difficult to explain what it feels like to confront the possibility of never meeting some of the family and friends again’’ Moses said.

An official of the Britain government document has admitted that very many people are migrating to Britain and working illegally in the country. The document says that the main reason is that there is ease of immigrants getting work in some fields such as catering, hospitality and agriculture. An official from Gerda National Immigration Bureau said that the penalty of getting and staying in the UK illegally could result to up to $25,000. Moses knew that he wasn’t coming to the UK to stay. That is what his documents said. But now he has to stay. To stay and make his ends meet. ‘’ I knew that my employer was worried about me. The legal provisions were so strict and therefore I had to know what to do. Things got hot one day when I received a notification message from the restaurant human resource manager requesting that I bring my passport in the next shift for immigration check. My Visa had already expired and I could do nothing about it.’’ He said.

Every employer in the UK is greatly cautious of the nationality and the legality of employees they get in touch with. The laws are quite clear that every employer should have a workforce of legal immigrants or the local residents. ‘’I didn’t have a valid passport and knew I could be deported at any moment. My stay in the UK had already expired and I didn’t have money to follow all the legal procedures to legalize my stay here. I knew that I had to leave my job. With no job I couldn’t be able to pay my rent and soon I could be homeless’’ I already could have been homeless if not for the Kindness of Dan from the time I landed in the UK, He lived with me for quite a while and I valued his friendship’’ He explained.

Since Moses had stayed in the country for more than the required time, He had to live beneath the radar of British life without any official documentation ‘’ this is how you live if you know you are undocumented’’, he tells me ‘’ you are constantly worried and always in the hideout’’ he said.

Moses didn’t have a settled life, this was his main challenge. But he had a soul mate whom they worked in the same restaurant. ‘’The bad thing is that I hadn’t settled yet. One of my friends was advising me to get married and apply for a spouse visa which I could move legally with in the UK. This was a good idea. But how could I get out in the light. I was already undocumented and thought that I couldn’t realize my stay in the UK’’ He said.  




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‘’ I knew that once I present my passport to the restaurant authorities I would be deported back to DRC. I had to start looking for another job and I promised myself that I would give it a try. I embarked on another journey. Thank God my manager was occupied and he didn’t ask for the passport for another 2 months’’. ‘’ After days of moving from hotel to hotel, I was offered an Offer to work in a chicken inn. The task here was a little bit simple but you had to come to terms with the relatively low salary. However, better earn a little in the UK than being thrown back to DRC. That could be a lost opportunity and I didn’t want it to look that way’’ He said.

‘’ Months passed and eventually I had stayed in the UK for one year. My girlfriend got pregnant and I thought things were getting worse. Although I was now established and settled things, I thought that I would be exposed to the legal registration of the child when born’’ He told me.

I met a friend who was so good at following up with things three months later who directed us with the mother of my two kids. Things ran fast and I couldn’t track a clear line of events from that time. He knew all these things and so I couldn’t explain how they went’’ He said to me.

I wanted to ensure that everything is in line with the legal provisions in the UK. However, if not for the kindness of in-laws and friends, then things could have gotten worse and maybe I could end up in my Village in Goma DRC’’ He said.

Moses was now close to the promised life. ‘’I now thought of applying for permanent residence card and live stress free here. That is what followed. Since I was now legally married to a UK citizen, things were not difficult. I had to do things one at a time. The good thing with my job is that I had mostly night shifts and therefore I was free during the day. I could finalize all my documentation steps without a problem. Later in the month I and my now legal wife went to the government’s registrar and started the process’’ He narrated.

Sometimes the procedures and the interviews can be overwhelming. ‘’I got my permanent residence card. The questions were tough. One question was being repeated about four times in one hour. That was the worst interview that I have ever done’’ He told me.

What I know is that even with a veteran immigration attorney present, the immigration citizen spouses were thoroughly interrogated. ‘’ I had the worst of my days. However, the case was approved but only after a pretty tough experience in the offices. What worried me most was the fact that when applying for permanent UK residence card, there were tax issues, the background check, medical examinations and several other matters that were taken into account. What would happen if I failed any of those...? I already had a family and I honestly don’t know how I could feed and dress them’’ He continued.

‘I had to go through a lot to secure my permanent stay in the UK, I had to incur a lot of money too in order to get my HSMP Visa, sometimes renewing it, and then apply for permanent residency, citizenship. The life was tough, I had to fill forms, apply for consulates and get visas through tedious and costly procedures. But now I am a very happy duo citizen’ ’He said.

This is what built my confidence and I could move around the city with friends.

The question of getting promoted at your work place is not a question of how much time you spend working but the respect you earn inside the kitchen. ‘’I was so focused at paying my rent, sending something to my grandmother back at home until I forgot things about promotion and other issues at work. I had worked for about 16 months before that thing got into my mind’’ He said.  




The grass is always greener on the other side

‘’When my wife could no longer work due to the baby she was carrying, the whole family burden fell on me. I had to work extra and make some part-time money to sustain the growing responsibilities. One person recommended me to another nearby club and restaurant. Here I started earning up to $11 in an hour. The club didn’t have a time limit and you could work for as long as you are comfortable. I used to work for up to 12 hours in the day. The salary was quite good for me. Making $100 in a day was a dream. I could pay for my rent in a one bedroom house that I was staying in Birmingham and still have 2/3 of my income left for other things’’ He said.

 ‘’I had to apply for a diploma part time program in a University in Birmingham. I applied to study Hospitality and tourism. My work got me some extra cash that I used to fund my school fees for the two years’’ Although my wife had already delivered and our baby girl was growing up well, I knew that in this country you have to keep on upgrading your knowledge through education. This is how you will be recognized and considered for higher positions in the labor market’’ ‘’Although studying meant devoting hours and hours every day mingling with books in the library and attending classes, I had to work extra hard. Sometimes spend some sleepless nights in the club working and the day in class. I could give myself a break for about 1 hour and sleep. Missing one or two classes wasn’t a big issue. Again being a student meant that I spent most of my time out doing research. My place of work was one of my research areas and at times I had to multitask, regress it during the day and end up submitting the research to my professor on the weekend’’ Moses told me.

‘’Nonetheless, from my personal experience in Britain, you have to work and study at the same time. There are very many opportunities of part time jobs which can be an inevitable way of digging into the local culture , earn some much needed money and expand your network in their country’’. He said.

‘’The good thing about these countries is that once you are learned and you practice, you automatically get recognized. I got a chance of applying for work in some of the biggest restaurants in London and my experience is a matter of recognition. After some few months of delivering my CV in almost every top rated restaurant in Birmingham and London, I got an invitation for the interview. I had stabilized and learnt enough from my stay in London. Therefore, going for an interview was one of the things that I was used to. I had more than 5 interview experiences in my life time and this meant I really didn’t have to prepare much’’ He explained.  




Moses knew that life needed a lot of commitments, so that he could make something out of it. ‘’I managed to get a job. A very good job that I characterize as one of my major blessing in life. Attracting a salary of up to $6000 in a month is something that I wanted for my life’’. He said.

‘’My daughter can now attend some of the best schools. She has smart reports from the school and now am a proud father. That is what every person would want for their children’’.’’ It has got to a point I no longer think of myself as an immigrant. I think as a UK citizen since I have made it through the courtesy of this beautiful country’’ He said. ‘’As I was living my life in Britain, I have learnt that I couldn’t afford to make mistakes. The mistakes that I have already made were enough. I never want to underestimate the power of determination. I couldn’t afford to fail at school or even lose my job. That is what hard work and success means’’. He said.

It is not enough, Moses knew that success never comes easy and he in fact needed to be extra cautious with life. ‘’I know what life is like, I have experienced a lot that I couldn’t want my children to undergo. I couldn’t afford some of the basic needs. That is not what I wanted for my children. I wanted them to afford quality education and have all their basic demands met. I undertake investments now and then. I know what investing means. I know the power of having private property that can earn you some extra coins at the end of the month. Now that I have been in the UK for 12 years, I have struggled a lot, I have made the most exemplary sacrifices in the world. I have been working here for 5 years now. I have at least settled most of my family debts and I want to embark on a comprehensive investment plan. I am currently in a plan to build and establish my own small restaurant in Marlborough’’. He told me.

 ‘’I was a performer in school and that is why I got a scholarship from a bank that catered for my education back at home. What about my brothers? Should I leave them to get lost in the darkness of ignorance and lack of basic education? That is not what I wanted’’. I wanted to go home and visit them one of the days. I have been sponsoring my younger brother’s education and now he is in his first year in the university. He has a future that everyone can see and smile about. That is all I could do. My grandmother is aging, she cannot even take good care of herself, but am sure her heart is always full of joy. She is not struggling with issues concerning her grandsons any more. I am sure she has waited enough, she has held on so long and she never thought that I can make it the way I did. We had already lost hope when we were all in the quarry back then’’. He narrated.  




How his life was changed

‘’Long journey of tremendous hardship, getting sleepless nights some happy moments, struggles and failures, but I chose to fight all along’’. ‘’Now I feel that at least I have enough money to share a cup of coffee or even buy my own tea bag and even get hot water at McDonald. This is what UK has made me. I can now go to work and be confident when I sit down and serve people. Life is not a walk in the park, it’s full of struggles. Moses told me.

Moses has witnessed violence and violation of human rights in his mother country and he refused to lie about it. We are trying to find the right words for what was happening in DRC at that time. ‘’DRC is my mother country, I can never forget my people back home. More so now that I can afford a flight at least twice a year. I usually go and check on them, both my brothers and grandma and sometimes those old friends. Now the country is calm, you can afford to get the political asylum that is needed and it’s a good thing. I usually like seeing my friends with a smile, the government politically stable to serve my friends back at home’’. He said.

His car now sits there challenging us to always work and make it as he did. He can now be able to drive on the highways confidently knowing that he is in a legal status in the country. He said. ‘’I am now confident with my life. I can be able to afford the basic needs and be more confident while moving around. I also have a world class NHS to look after me. In fact, I can sit comfortably and say that I live a luxurious life compared to the one my people are living back at home. I am very happy that I came to the UK. A new country with new life and new educative challenges’’ He told me.

United Kingdom is a country that has continually been infused with new comers. The challenges that most of the people face while in a foreign country are painful. Listening to a story of someone who escaped from their mother country and ends up in a far much worse situation in a foreign country are quite common. Moses’s study is an inspiration. He had a relatively smooth journey to the UK. Most of the migrants do not make it as easy as He did. ‘’My story of immigration is tied to despair, pain and anguish that is yet to heal. Throughout the years, some of my brothers had to suffer a lot. I got the life here in London wishing that one day I would have a family and project my children to the love I missed. Growing up, I wanted to make as many friends as possible. Friends from every corner of the world and from every religious and backgrounds. Were it not for friends, I wouldn’t be where I am now. I had to sometimes survive and go through the challenges of life through their support’’. He said.  



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Moral lesson

 In this world, no man is an island. You cannot live on your own, you cannot even put up with life if you don’t have friends to support you.’’ I can never forget Dan, he sacrificed a lot for my success. He is now an educated man working in Los Angeles. He has a happy family and I count that a blessing. If not for him then I would still be in DRC Struggling with life.’’ He said.

‘’ I was fortunate to have received education that opened many doors for me. What this means is that education is the best investment that someone can take. You can lose your job but you cannot lose the knowledge in your head. Things can turn upside down and if you have something in your head that you can present in front of your employers then you are good’’ He told me. ‘’I am now privileged to work alongside some of the most qualified and dedicated colleagues. The work is not as tiresome as it was immediately I got into UK’’ He narrated.

‘’I feel fortunate to have been there to see my mother struggle with life and still she made it to raise us all on her own. This is what made me harden. I don’t give up just yet. I was taught to hold on until I make it in life’’ He said.

I gained courage out of it. One of the unfortunate consequences of being an immigrant is that you have to prove yourself. I didn’t want those people at home to think that I was taking my family for a ride. I had to prove that I went for greener pastures and that is what everybody wanted to see’’ He narrated.

Like most of the people, Moses didn’t know what life held for his future. He didn’t think that parents had a vital influence on someone’s life. Until now that he misses them that he wishes he was close to them. ‘’ As an adult working here in London, I have come to realize how much my parents and their experiences could have impacted me’’.

Some of the immigrants in the UK have achieved their ‘’white dream’’ while there are those that end up miserable. Now he can be able to feed his family, feed his two young brother, and support his other brother and his grandmother back at home.

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