Limbe vs. New York

Looking back at the Jonga’s journey through the progression of the novel, it is clear that both Jende and Neni share a love for both Limbe and New York City. At the end of the novel, the Jongas sadly have to leave the life that they have established in New York City as they can no longer legally stay in the country. Jende did not win his Asylum court case and his Visa had expired. With that being said, the Jongas were bringing back with them twenty one thousand dollars to Limbe that they had earned while working (and blackmailing) during their time in New York City. Brining this much American money back to a poor country like Cameroon is a big advantage for them and their loved ones. Equating twenty one thousand dollars to Cameroon’s currency (CFA Francs) is eleven million, six hundred and ninety seven thousand, five hundred and fifty two¬† CFA Francs. That is a crazy amount of money for a family who feels defeated as they could not make it in the big apple. The main argument for the New York versus Limbe argument is freedom versus equity. In America, if they could have stayed, they would have struggled in poverty trying to make a better life, but they also would have had more protections under American law than they do under Cameroonian law. On the other hand, in Limbe, they would be rich and would be able to have a nice house and maids and would be able to provide Liomi and his younger sibling with an above average life gibing them whatever they wanted. In many countries living in poverty, any law can be overridden with the right amount of money and the Jongas sure had enough of it. The decision of which one is better to live it lies within the person. The opinion of which situation is better can only be decided by how the individual wants to live and spend their life. I think that the Jongas would have differing opinions on this matter. The New York life suits Neni and we can see that in the novel as she is so resistant to leave New York. The equal rights and opportunities seems advantageous to her character while in Limbe she would not be treated as an equal. Jende however, is a very humble individual and is perfectly okay with the simple life in Limbe. He knows deep down inside of himself that he would much rather live in Limbe wit his own business than to constantly be seen as expendable by the rich white men of New York. This dynamic of difference is what makes the Jongas relationship in Behold the Dreamers so compelling. Those two always butting heads makes for a good story as they both think they are doing the right thing, they are just doing it in different way. I personally could not tell you my opinion on which I think is better but I know that if they had a choice to stay in New York or go back to Limbe, that would be one difficult talk for the both of them.

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