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VIDEO: Kenyans in US open up on untold challenges they face in new documentary

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BY BMJ MURIITHI

A new documentary released in the US over the weekend is shedding light on some hitherto untold challenges Kenyans face as immigrants in that country.

Written and produced by Kaba Mbugua, the film which was released Saturday in Raleigh, North Carolina, features a number of Kenyans who candidly tell their own real life stories.

Official estimates put the number of Kenyans living in the United States at 130,000. The figure has however been disputed in some quarters with some claiming that there are at least 300,000 immigrants from the East African nation. Many hold well paying jobs or run successful enterprises while others are students.

The documentary however shows that some Kenyans, just like the rest of the immigrants from other countries,  struggle to make ends meet. A myriad of challenges have sometimes led some – especially the youth – to fall into bad company, ending up in jail, homeless shelters, on a forced flight back home or, in extreme cases, even dead. The film highlights  the misconceptions held by some Kenyans about life in the ‘land of the free’ and the subsequent effects.

“I was a criminal…I was arrested for illegal possession of a gun and cocaine” reveals James Njoroge who has since been deported. “I smoked Marijuana and had many minor violations,” he adds.

Ms Alice Raine, who has since returned to Kenya tells of how uninformed she was about life in the US before leaving Nairobi.

She explains how shocked she was when she arrived in the US.

“We used to eat from trash cans because we had no food and the restaurant where we worked would not let us touch the “expired” food,” she says, referring to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) laws which are strictly observed by eateries in the US.

“Our first year was terrible. We had come on a one way ticket and so we couldn’t go back,” she adds.

“Many Kenyan professionals who are well educated find themselves doing very demeaning menial jobs just to make ends meet in the US. This is simply because they do not have the requisite papers to enable them compete on equal terms with other job seekers,” says another Kenyan.

Wariara Thuo explains how difficult it was to get a place to stay and a car soon after she arrived in the country.

“They wanted to see my documents everywhere I went.”

But some Kenyans here don’t give up easily and they opt for marriage, explains Japheth Matemu, a US-based immigration lawyer.

“However, citizenship through marriage is not as easy as some think. It must be a one-woman-one man union and it has to be entered into in good faith in order to be recognised by federal law,” he adds.

He says many Kenyans who are married in Kenya are denied an opportunity to adjust their status because they never divorced their spouses and the records show it.

“They forget that there is a record trail from the time they applied for their visa as they mentioned that they were married in order to increase the chances of getting the coveted document ,” he says.

Matemu explains why the “Kenyan mindset” has landed many Kenyans in US jails. “Some things that are not taken very seriously in Kenya are sometimes considered outright criminal in the United States. Many Kenyans, especially young people, have ended up in jail for crimes like driving under the influence (DUI), which in comparison, is not taken very seriously in Kenya,” he adds.

Documentary film make Kaba Mbugua. PHOTO/COURTESY

He says people who overstay their visas have it very rough but they hardly talk about it because they would not like their families and friends back home to know of their predicament. Matemu however says life for Kenyans with valid student visas is relatively easy.”

“If you come here on a student visa, then you are also allowed to work and sustain yourself. Holders of some other Visas like the DV (popularly known as Green Card), are also good to go,” he says.

He however warns against “Marriage for papers.”

Mbijiwe Mwenda, a counselor with Family Development Institute says some people have made “a business venture” out of marriage. He tells of how they marry for papers and divorce as soon as the marriage “matures,” only to get married to another “client” soon afterwards.

“They pocket about three thousand dollars (Sh 320,000) every two to three years for marriages that have nothing to do with bedroom affairs,” he says.

Joseck Asikoye of Jabali Africa explains why he thinks cases of domestic violence among Kenyan couples in the US are on the rise.

“Pent up anger among  Kenyan men in the US is one of the reasons some are killing themselves. He says they find it difficult  to “bring out the Kenyan men in them” due to the repercussions of such acts. You can’t physically discipline your wife here,” he says.

“You have to do your homework before relocating to the US. If you are violent by nature, the America is not for you because the authorities are zero tolerant to violence,” he says.

Willie Owusu & Ndungi Githuku in action
PHOTO/COURTESY by metta metta ART

Ms Kanyi, who came to the US at age 7,  tells of how she fell into bad company leading to her deportation at the age of 17. If you don’t have papers and you get yourself into criminal activities in the US, that is a sure air ticket back to your motherland,” she says.

I had Kenya friends in the US who took their own lives,” adds Kanyi.

Francis Maina also tells his story. He explains how he was stuck in the US for 13 years and couldn’t invite his family after he overstayed his visa.

Asikoye Justus advises Kenyans who immigrate to the US to obey the law. “There is no short cut here. There are many people rotting in jail,” he says.

Film maker Kaba Kaba in action. PHOTO/COURTESY

The 37-minute long film is  written by Kaba Mbugua and the soundtrack is by Jabal Africa. Audio post-production is done by Kenyan thespian, Ndungi Githuku.

Watch it here courtesy of Kaba Kaba Films:

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Diaspora

UPDATE on Njoki wa Ndegwa’s funeral arrangements

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Following the passing away of broadcaster Njoki wa Ndegwa, family, friends and well-wishers are meeting at the home of Francis and Jane Muhia every evening from 6:00pm to console one another and to prepare to give her an honorable homegoing.

Njoki was loving mother to Kenneth Ndegwa, Edwin Gitonga, Patrick Maina and Alfred Njogu.

Daughter to the late Teresa Wangui and  Collnelius & Leah Ndegwa of Kabazi town in Nakuru County.

Sister to Grace Wanjiru (Nyeri), Judith wambui Gathecha (Nairobi), Esther Ng’ang’a (Kabatini), Leah Wambui (Nakuru), Isabel Wangechi Mwangi (Nairobi), the late Martin Maina( Nyeri), Julia Njeri Gatugi (Nairobi), Mary Wanjiku (Nairobi), Cornellious Ndegwa (Ng’arua), and George Mwangi (Nairobi). Grandmother to Alma Njoki.

Sister in law to Gatheca, Nganga, Kiarie, Mwangi, Gatugi,and Wambui

Mother in law to Sarah Kasiva

Prayer Meetings in USA

Address: 3209 Galaxie Rd, Garland, TX 75044

Time: 6:00pm daily

 

Memorial service for USA is scheduled for

Date: Saturday, February 24

Time 3:00PM

Venue:

Upendo Baptist Church

916 N. Jupiter Rd

Garland, TX 75042

 

More info, please contact:
Philip Karuma: 214-223-5020
Rev. Dr. Solomon Waigwa (Rhema Church pastor): 254-295-6225
Pastor Karen (PK): 214-682-2375
Sammy Gitonga (Chairman, JRN Radio): 614-284-0081
Mumbi Baskin (Afrikan Fusion): 469-516-3355

 

 

 

 

 

Funeral and Burial arrangements will be communicated as soon as they are available

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SOURCE: mykenyanlink.com

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Diaspora

Man deported back to Kenya moments after landing at his destination

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A Kenyan has been deported back to his country after being found to have secured his Visa through underhand methods. Francis Kimani alias ‘Yehudah Kimani’ was deported to Kenya from Israel after immigration officers from the Israeli Interior Ministry denied him entry into an Israeli airport on Monday evening.

The 31-year-old had traveled to the Jewish state for a three-week study program. The Times of Israel reports that Kimani managed to secure a visa on his second try, in time for the Conservative Yeshiva’s winter break program after first visa application was denied.

However, upon landing at Ben Gurion Airport, authorities at the passport inspection said his visa was not valid as it was fraudulently acquired and ordered he be deported. He was booked in the next flight to Ethiopia, but lost his bag in the mix.

“They just told me to go back, I feel like I’m not a human,” Kimani said from the Addis Ababa airport.

Rabbi Andy Sacks, director of the Conservative movement’s Rabbinical Assembly in Israel termed the extradition as “an act of outright racism.”

“Let’s be honest, he was not let into the country because he was black, and this is not the first time our converts from Africa have been given the run-around.”

Kimani is allegedly the leader of 50-member Kehilat Kasuku, a small group of families in Kenya who decided to abandon Messianic Judaism in the early 2000s. A retired judge Justin Philips had invited Kimani to study at the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem for a short program.

“There was no question on the visa form asking for that, and if they want that information they should ask for it. This is naked racism,” Philips said.

Kimani is a tourism graduate and hopes to one day operate a kosher safari firm in Kenya.

Mwakilishi.com

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Diaspora

PHOTOS: Kenyan Woman Weds her Lesbian Lover in US

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A Kenyan Lesbian has married an American woman in a low key ceremony held in Dallas, Texas, USA.

Manuella Mumbi tied the knot with her American lover,  Lisa Webb Clay.

Mumbi, one of the few Kenyan women who have boldly come out to declare that they are lesbians, was born and raised in Kahawa, Kiambu County and recently relocated to the US to live with her better half before their wedding.

Webb Clay is an American model who hails from Texas. She reportedly invited Mumbi to the US to formalize their engagement.

RELATED POST: Gay Kenyan gospel artiste says he likes dating prominent Kenyans

Although same sex marriage is illegal in Kenya, it is legal in the US.

The Saturday ceremony was a totally low key affair as no witnesses were present except for the cleric who officiated their union and a cameraman.

WATCH RELATED VIDEO: Gay Kenyan in US opens up about fathering a son.

 

However, after the marriage, Mumbi took to her Facebook and posted the pictures captioning them with a sweet message to her new partner.

“Unto us a day was given. Been a journey of love. Yes I do love you now and forever.”

Under Texas law, persons authorised to perform weddings include licensed or ordained Christian ministers or priests, Jewish rabbis, and an officer of a religious organisation who is authorised by the same organisation to do so.

On June 26, 2015, same-sex marriage was established in all 50 states as a result of the ruling of the Supreme Court of the United States in the landmark civil rights case of Obergefell v. Hodges, in which it was held that the right of same-sex couples to marry on the same terms and conditions as opposite-sex couples, with all the accompanying rights and responsibilities, was guaranteed by both the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

The Saturday marriage took place at the local county offices that issued them with a marriage certificate.

Here are the photos:

 

Kenyan lesbian gets married to American beauty in simple wedding

Kenyan lesbian gets married to American beauty in simple wedding. Photo: Manuella Royale/ Facebook

Kenyan lesbian gets married to American beauty in simple wedding

Kenyan lesbian gets married to American beauty in simple wedding. Photo: Manuella Royale/ Facebook

Kenyan lesbian gets married to American beauty in simple wedding

Kenyan lesbian gets married to American beauty in simple wedding. Photo: Manuella Royale/ Facebook

Kenyan lesbian gets married to American beauty in simple wedding

Kenyan lesbian gets married to American beauty in simple wedding. Photo: Manuella Royale/ Facebook

 

In 2016, a Kenyan man married  an American gay professor. See the story below:

Kenyan marries fellow man in USA

 

 

A Kenyan man has tied the knot with another man in Missouri, USA. Ben Gitau, who hails from Nakuru, got married to Steve Damelin at a ceremony held at Ann Arbor, MI, on Saturday afternoon.

Soon after the event, the two were seen at the Square’s gardens kissing and fondling in public as friends and family members who had accompanied them cheered.

Mr Kararu Ririi, a close friend to the couple and a self confessed gay Kenyan residing in California, tweeted the following on Saturday shortly after attending the wedding:

“This afternoon I had a chance to congratulate my friend, Ben and his husband, Steve on occasion of their marriage. It is a rare thing to see a Kenyan man so courageous! Congratulations.”

Gitau lived in Atlanta, Georgia, before moving to the state of California.

Same-sex-marriage was legalized in the State of Missouri in June last year in a landmark US Supreme court ruling which struck down states’ bans on gay or lesbian marriages between two people “as long as they love each other.”

According to a family member who spoke to the Nation on condition of anonymity, Gitau met his ‘fiancé,’ in Atlanta where the latter was a PHD student at Georgia Institute of Technology.

Soon after taking the vows Saturday, Gitau posted the following multiple hashtags – some of which are very popular within the gay community in the US – on his twitter and Facebook accounts:

‪#‎HappilyMarried ‪#‎NewlyWed ‪#‎GayCouple ‪#‎GayHusbands ‪#‎2Hubbies‪#‎Blessed ‪#‎JewishHubby ‪#‎ChristianHubby‪#‎Hubby1 ‪#‎Hubby2 ‪#‎4Ever1‪#‎InGodsMath ‪#‎GetItRight‪#‎NoWife ‪#‎ThankYou!

Mr Damlin is a well-known American scholar and professor of Mathematics whose Masters and PhD thesis were on “Approximation for Erdos Weights”.

His contributions include the Cambridge University Press book The Mathematics of Signal Processing with Willard Miller and he has made contributions in diverse areas including number theory, finite fields, coding theory, computer vision, imaging, signal processing, quantum computing, computational and pure harmonic analysis, geometric analysis, random matrices, potential theory, approximation theory, numerical analysis and mathematics education.

His collaborators include Alfred Hero, R. Jamison and Betty Williams Professor of Engineering (University of Michigan) and 2015 IEEE Signal Processing Society award recipient and Fefferman.

He has been a member of the American Mathematical Society Mathematics Research Communities Advisory Board and the American Mathematical Society Committee of Committees. In 2005–2006, he held a New Directions Research Professor at the Interdisciplinary Institute of Mathematics and its Applications, University of Minnesota and in 2010–2011 was the principle awardee in High Performance Computing (CHPC) at the University of the Witwatersrand.

We couldn’t immediately establish what Ben Gitau currently does for a living.

 

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