At work, Jende’s friends ask him repeatedly if he’s sure that he won’t miss America. He admits that he may miss football and cheesecake, but he wants no more of living in a roach-infested apartment. He wants, instead, to visit his family whenever he wants and to meet his friends at parties where they’ll have roasted fish and beer by the ocean.
Jende realizes that his quality of life is more important to him. There are things that are unique about living in America, but he can acquire many of the things that he wants in Cameroon, without struggling or fighting for his right to belong.
Neni finds that, as the date of her departure comes closer, she can’t stop crying. She cries everywhere and feels no excitement at the prospect of reuniting with her family and old friends. She worries, in fact, that she’ll have too little in common with them now. For her children, her feelings waver between joy and sorrow—joy for the beautiful things that Cameroon can give them and sorrow for the things it can’t. They would lose the opportunity to grow up “in a magnificent land of uninhibited dreamers.” They would lose access to the adventures that only New York could offer a child.
Neni cries out of fear of returning to the life of stagnancy that she was eager to escape. She has changed, too, and worries that she may no longer fit in with her former community in Cameroon. Though Jende is progressing, she feels that she will regress. Worse, she thinks that her children will grow up limited by the rigid traditions and expectations that characterized life for her in Cameroon.