I'm in SF.
One of my cabbies tonight was from Eritrea. We chatted, as I often do, about what his life is like. He considered himself blessed that he was here early and that his rent is only $1400/month on rent control. That is, quite frankly, a bonkers rent in SF, where a 2 bedroom apartment can easily go for $5000/month.
He drives a lot and has been a cabbie for 4 years. That's a long time, nearly as long as I've been at Flurry/Yahoo. Our trip was about $7 and lasted about 10 minutes. I gave him a decent tip. He gave me some back...
It turns out he was from Eritrea, an African country on the east coast of Africa near the middle east. As I was getting out, I asked him, "When was the last time you've been home?"
His reply was sobering. "It's been 10 years." I wished him a chance to get back home someday soon. He did not seem hopeful.
I saw my mom less than a month ago. I see her on a regular basis, a few times a year. He is a young man, probably in his mid to late 20s. What must it be like for his mother to not have seen the man he's grown into?
"Blessed" is relative. As I stepped out onto the curb of one of the nicest hotels in SF, I pondered the differences in our societies. This man, who considers himself blessed but hasn't seen his mother (assuming she still lives) in 10 years, is ostensibly barely making it. Or maybe making it, but there's not much left to give, so much so that he hasn't bee home in 10 years.
I'll tell you what, if I hadn't seen my mother in 10 years, I would be sad and do whatever I could to get home to see her. She's an amazing woman and deserves to see her boys grown.
Is this man's mother any less of a woman?