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Kenyan youth turn to sex to sooth election pains – National survey

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Months of electoral upheaval, sporadic unrest and economic slowdown have hit young Kenyans hard, a nationwide youth survey found Thursday.

The struggle to make ends meet has left them disillusioned, apathetic and angry, according to the annual survey of nearly 3,000 Kenyans aged 15-24 years conducted by Well Told Story, a communications, research and production company in Nairobi. “Economic crisis does not spare anyone,” said Anastasia Mirzoyants-McKnight, the company’s head of knowledge and learning.

Compared with 2016, “young people are unhappier, taking more risks and have less money,” the research found. Nearly two-thirds of young Kenyans are struggling to pay for daily basics such as food and transport, up from around a half last year, and saving for the future is impossible for all but a very few.

The proportion of young people describing themselves as “disengaged” from politics and “disgruntled” or angry has also grown significantly this year. At the same time, feelings of loneliness have increased, with only a third saying they find adequate support in their communities.

The survey points to a worrying unravelling of Kenya’s social fabric after a divisive, sometimes deadly, and protracted electoral season that has paralysed the country since August. This year has also seen an increase in casual sex and unplanned pregnancies as young people use sex as “a way to feel good about themselves” or to seek social status, money or gifts.

READ ALSO:   VIDEO: New comer Muthiora Kariara shines as others stay away

Well Told Story publishes a comic called Shujaaz — “Heroes” in Swahili — and runs radio shows and websites aimed at helping young Kenyans find ways to make their lives better. This year’s Shujaaz360 survey found that one group of youngsters, dubbed “hustlas”, were weathering the economic and political storms better by being entrepreneurial and preparing for trouble.

“When they expect a pinch, hustlas plan for it and set aside more money than they would normally do, they save more. Their volatility is less than everyone else,” said Mirzoyants-McKnight.

-business today

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Africa

Help me find my Kenyan family

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Alexander Bedran, 25, has lived most of his life in Lebanon but he often sees himself as Kenyan as well.

Based on narratives from his Lebanese father and his late mother, Alexander has come to learn of his Kenyan roots. He knows he has Kenyan grandparents, has a Kenyan birth certificate and even spent the first two years of his life here.

The urge to look for his relatives in Kenya has seen him visit the Kenyan Consulate in Beirut and write letters to the Kenyan Embassy in Kuwait (which is accredited Lebanon). None of them were helpful but they advised him to travel to Kenya and apply for his Kenyan citizenship documents.

Last week, he spoke to the Nation, hoping that one day, his grandparents, uncles or aunts will read it and bring him home. Here is his story:

“My name is Alexander Badran. I am Kenyan or Lebanese, actually both. I am 25 years old. I was born in Kenya on March 11, 1995 at the Mombasa Hospital. I have decided to come to you through the Nation because I am trying to find my mother’s relatives, siblings or any of her relatives. I have tried on my own the past couple of years through social media, browsing through names that relate to my mother’s and those I heard my father mention. I have not been lucky.

I don’t know why I want to contact them. I don’t  have a reason, which may sound awkward, really, but I guess I just want to connect with my family as I have never had a sense of family. I never had one from my parents. I never knew relatives from my mother’s side and those from my father’s side as they never stayed in touch. My father had continual family feuds with my grandfather. My entire family tree has always been a mystery to me.

My mother’s name was Jacinta Mueni Kitinga. She was born sometime between 1972 and 1974. She was initially protestant though I don’t know the exact denomination. She had a brother named Alfred who was either a priest or a cleric in a church. Her mother, my grandmother, was called Rachel. Her father was David or Daniel; I am not sure. My mother was living in Mombasa when she met my father. They later relocated to Lebanon.

READ ALSO:   VIDEO: New comer Muthiora Kariara shines as others stay away

My mother was of Kikuyu and Kamba descent. I can’t remember exact details but my mother mentioned that my grandfather might have had a house or lived near Lake Victoria.

My father’s name is Ahmad Yousef Badran. He is Lebanese. He was born in November 1952 or 1953. My relationship with my father wasn’t perfect. I viewed him as a strange man because he often lied to people.

A combination of photos of Jacinta Mueni Kitinga, her son Alexander Bedran and his father Ahmad Yousef Badran.

I cannot confirm if whatever he told me about my mother was accurate.  According to him, he met my mother while on leave. He had been working as the captain of a ship for the ICRC. He says he met my mother while on a safari. I am not sure where that was.

I remember my father mentioning that he married my mother only so she could take care of his two other children from a previous marriage after the wife died. Those children were eventually abandoned as they lived in Manilla in the Philippines.

About a year prior to marrying my father, my mother converted to Islam and changed her first name to Iman. However, I am not sure if she legally changed it.

I remember my mother mentioning that she had worked in tea plantations in Kenya when she was younger.

My parents mentioned quite often a man named Paul Kelly, who may or may not have been the boss or contractor where my father worked at the time.

READ ALSO:   HILARIOUS VIDEO: Kenyan wajuaji think global warming is a form of flask/thermos!

After I was born, we lived for about a year in Mombasa. But I remember Nairobi was mentioned often even though I don’t know if we ever lived there or if my father’s work place was based there.

My parents then moved to Cyprus for about a year. A year later, when my grandfather (father’s side) was about to die, they relocated to Lebanon as my father and his siblings were seeking their inheritance.

While in Lebanon, my mother was never allowed to communicate with her family back in Kenya. She was not allowed to learn Arabic or go out to meet anyone or see anything.

My mother, however, secretly made friends with a union of international women in Lebanon who were her only friends and source of companionship. My father still forbade her from ever seeing or talking to them.

As the years went by, she became more miserable and lost all hope. Fast forward to 2005 and my parents fought physically almost daily, sometimes every 15 minutes. My memory of this time is of running to the neighbours to ask for help to separate them. Each day my father  returned home, he unleashed his rage from work on her and beat her senseless.

My father claimed my mother was insane when people asked about her.

In August 2007, or perhaps 2008, she committed suicide through electrocution. The neighbours saw her intentionally hold onto an electric wire until she died. That same day my father had threatened to send my mother to a mental asylum, saying she would be locked up. Weeks before her death, she asked for a divorce but my father laughed it off and beat her whenever she mentioned it.

When the police arrived to investigate her death, he portrayed himself as the victim and described himself as a loving father and husband.

READ ALSO:   VIDEO: Ugly scene as Kenyan bishop allegedly caught red handed with someone's wife

My father took me out of school multiple times until Grade Seven when he stopped my education for unknown reasons.

Years later in 2016, I ran away from home. I packed everything I had and never looked back. However, my mother’s legal papers from Kenya are all missing. I did menial jobs and saved enough to study digital marketing in a vocational school. I got my degree recently.

In my attempt to reconcile and forgive my father, I met him in July 2020 for the first time since leaving home.

I put grudges and hatred aside and asked for my mother’s Kenyan ID, marriage certificate or any legal document of hers. He claimed to have lost them all or to have forgotten to collect them from a local Mukhtar (title for a village chief in Lebanon).

He also claimed they were left in the morgue where my mother’s body was kept. Both the Muktar and the morgue deny retaining any papers.

My father still stays with my younger sister. He often locks her up, which causes me to worry about her mental health.

I believe I have been denied my right to acquire my Kenyan nationality because of the chaos in my immediate family. I once reached out to the Kenyan Consulate in Lebanon and was advised to be physically present in Kenya while applying.

I have been so desperate in the past. I had never met a Kenyan so when I met a Ugandan hairdresser, I asked if she knew my relatives.

I figured that since the two countries neighbour each other, he might know someone in Kenya who might connect me to my relatives.

The only Kenyan document I have is a birth certificate. My mother gave it to me years back and told me to guard it jealously. She said it could one day help me. I hope it does.

By Nation.co.ke

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Africa

Tough visa rules for students from Kenya, other countries seeking to study in US

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President Donald Trump’s government is planning to bar Kenyan and other  East African students from pursuing degrees in the US by limiting their stay in the country.

The move which is contained in proposals by the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will also see students from a majority of African countries barred from getting student visas longer than two years.

This means that the students will be unable to pursue education in American universities where degrees and other certifications take about four years of study.

“If DHS’s new proposed rule goes through, international students from countries like Nigeria, Kenya, Vietnam, and the Philippines would be effectively banned from getting four-year degrees in the US,” US Immigration lawyer Aaron Reinchlin-Melnick, who is a Policy Analyst at the American Immigration Council, warns.

According to the new DHS proposal, students from countries on the State Sponsor of Terrorism List (Iran, Syria, Sudan and Northern Korea) and citizens of countries with over 10 per cent overstay rate will be limited to the two-year student visa.

“Most of those countries would be subject to restrictions because of the “10 per cent visa overstay” threshold,” Mr Reinchlin-Melnick tweeted.

The majority of the affected countries are in Africa and others in war-torn countries in Asia. The list seems, however, to avoid countries dominated by white people, especially in Europe.

READ ALSO:   WHO attributes Kenya's rising cases to laxity, ignorance  

Students who will be affected by the new rules include those from Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, South Sudan, Somalia, and Ethiopia.

Other than the East Africans, students from countries such as Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, DR Congo, Republic of Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Gabon, the Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Libya, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, North Korea, Papua New Guinea, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Togo, and Zambia are affected.

Others are Afghanistan, Bhutan, Guyana, Haiti, Iran, Iraq, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Mongolia, Nepal, North Korea, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Samoa, Syria, Tajikistan, Tonga, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, and Yemen.

Although the students would be able to ask DHS for an extension of their visas past two years, those extensions will not be guaranteed.

In its explanation, the Department says that its intention is to fix a major problem on students overstaying their welcome in the US.

But an analysis of the Department of Homeland Security points that only 32,023 people were suspected of overstaying a student /exchange visa last year.

Overstayed

Whereas the Trump government argues that the rule to restrict some countries is based on the percentage of students who overstayed, countries with the highest number of overstays like China, India, Brazil and Canada are not included in the punitive list.

READ ALSO:   VIDEO: Top Kenyan comedian Eric Omondi stars in an Indian 'Movie'

A downward trend is also developing as fewer students from other countries are enrolling in US colleges and universities, according to a study published recently by a State Department bureau and Institute of International Education, a New York-based NGO.

Last year’s 0.9 per cent drop in new enrolments of international students continued since the start of the Trump administration in 2017.

A spate of gun violence in a number of States especially targeting black population is also reported to have a number of parents reconsider sending their children to the US.

Kenya ranks third among sub-Saharan countries and the first in East Africa and followed by Ethiopia in the number of students attending US colleges or universities.

Nigeria leads the pack with a total of 13,423 students last year, an increase of nearly six per cent from the 2017-18 academic year followed by Ghana.

In July, the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced that students on non-immigrant F-1 and M-1 visas who attend universities that operate entirely online amid the Covid-19 pandemic may not take a full online course load and remain in the United States. It meant students under the category were required to return home.

The order was however rescinded after a public outcry.

-The EastAfrican

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Africa

Why all the hullabaloo about the 2-year US student visas for Kenyans?

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BY BOB MWITI

There has been a lot of outcry about the latest news that Kenyan students will be getting 2-year US student visas instead of 4 years as it has been the case before. I have received several messages from my followers asking clarification on what this means.

 

It is said that the main reason for the latest student visa changes is because Kenya is one of those countries whose students have notoriously overstayed their visas. Quite true though!

 

Well, rather than create a fuss about this drastic change by the US government, let’s first of all ask ourselves, why do we overstay our visas, and how can we solve this issue of visa overstay.

 

I will first address the overstay issue before I give you my view on the ramifications of the new 2-year visa changes.

Please note that this post may make some people “catch feelings”, but that is fine.

 

Someone with an organization that deals with student matters in America, I have an obligation to educate those prospective smart international students who religiously follow me and consume my content. If you are not one of them, it is fine, just pass this!…Ok?

 

You see, us Africans never talk about undocumented immigrant issues openly here in America, mostly because they affect almost every one of us. Almost every household know one or two people who do not have the right immigration papers, and therefore it is an extremely sensitive topic to address.

 

However, people back home need to know these things so that they can make an informed decision.

Here in the US, about 30-40% of African immigrants do not have the right immigration papers. Meaning they live and work in America illegally.

 

One interesting fact is that majority of this group of our people came to America as International students. They never crossed the border illegally!

 

They went to the embassy, were given a visa and were admitted at the US airport, but somehow, they found themselves in this situation of not having the right immigration documents.

 

I have always said this a million times, that as an international student, one of the most challenging thing that you will ever face if you want to live and work in USA is to figure out how to transition from a student to a permanent resident.

Majority of our students come here blindly without really thinking about how they will make that transition. No one tells them before they leave Africa. They come here and then they are surprised with what they must do.

 

One of the major problems us Africans have and continue to make the same mistake repeatedly, is coming to USA without enough funds to take care of our studies as international students.

READ ALSO:   VIDEO: Top Kenyan comedian Eric Omondi stars in an Indian 'Movie'

 

You know how we normally do it? We get just enough to push us through school for one semester, and then hope that we will be able to work and pay for the school fees.

 

Who told you that you can earn enough to pay for your school fees? Do you know how much it costs to study here? Do you know that as an international student you are only allowed to work 20 hours a week on a minimum wage and that this kind of money is barely enough to pay your rent?

 

You see, if we keep making the same mistake, we will continue suffering as international students.

If you are a smart prospective international student, you need to make sure that you have enough funds to push you through school in America. If not, you will drop out of school and fall out of status and once you do that, you will become an illegal alien.

 

The consequence of being an illegal immigrant is that it is extremely hard to work in corporate America, even if you are smart. You will end up working those odd Jobs that a lot of Africans do. They do those jobs because, those are the only jobs one can do if they do not have the right papers.

 

Now, you may ask yourself, how do you get enough funds to take care of your education in America?. There are options for unsecured international student loans and loans that require a cosigner. This is a great option for needy smart student who want a US education.

 

When I came to US as an international student, I realized majority of Indian students study in the US on student loans. Only Africans do not….and these Indians complete their studies and work good jobs in corporate America. Such jobs come with work visa, and most of these work visas are taken up by them.

 

The US government offers 140,000 employment-based green cards every year and each country is allotted 9,800 of those visas, yet very few of us Africans get them. 80% go to Indians!…..Reason being, Indians complete their studies, and remain in good standing under the law and therefore are able to transition seamlessly.

 

Most Indian students know what career trajectory they will take, even before they land here. One time I asked an Indian friend of mine that I was working with, if before he came to study in USA, he knew whether he would be doing the same IT consulting job he was doing at that time.

READ ALSO:   HILARIOUS VIDEO: Kenyan wajuaji think global warming is a form of flask/thermos!

Do you know what he said?…”heck yea!..I knew it!”

 

Guess what?, for me when I left Kenya, I had no idea what would happen to me after I got to America. I came here blindly like millions of other Africans do. Vastly different from what these Indians do. No wonder they are many steps ahead of us on so many levels.

 

Indians are richest group of people in America. They make more than the white Americans, and yet they came to USA as immigrants just like us……and majority came as students on student loans!!..Yes!..Student loans!

 

Very few Africans get permanent residency through employment, and yet it is one of the easiest ways to transition from a student to a skilled worker in USA.

 

Unless we figure things out, we will keep struggling in getting the right immigration papers in USA.

 

Now back to the 2-year visa issue. In one of my episodes on my popular show “Success with Bob Mwiti”, I actually addressed the issue of what a visa and an immigration status mean.

 

So, let me clarify, A visa is just a stamp you get on your passport that allows you to leave you country and seek admission at the port of entry here in the US.

 

Once you land here in the US as s student, you must attend the school and maintain your immigration status as a student. Key word here is MAINTAIN. Failure to do so will make you become an illegal alien and if you are caught you may be deported.

 

So, what really matters once you are here in the US as a student, is that your immigration status is current as shown on your SEVIS record which is tied to your I-20 document not your visa stamp!!..ok?

 

Let me clarify this a bit, let’s say you have 5-year visa like it was before, and you come here and drop of out of school due to school fees issues after one semester. Then even though you had 5-year visa stamp on your passport, you will be out of status and you could be deported.

 

Now assume, you got 2-year visa on your passport, and you came for a 4-year undergraduate program and you have been studying smoothly, and by the 3rd year, your visa has expired. What that means is that, even though your stamp is expired, you will still be fine because your immigration status as shown on your SEVIS record via your I-20 is still intact. What matters is your SEVIS record on your I-20 document!

READ ALSO:   VIDEO: Ugly scene as Kenyan bishop allegedly caught red handed with someone's wife

 

The only slight concern with this 2 year visa when studying a 4 year course is that, if for any reason you decide to travel outside the US after 2 years, then you will have to attend a student visa interview. If you were in school throughout, you will never have a problem getting your student visa renewed, but if you did not maintain your status then you will be in trouble.

 

In conclusion, what we need to fix is our mentality on the best way to migrate to USA as international students and how to get the funding needed to take care of our education in America.

 

There are abundant opportunities for smart students in America and Indians have figured this out, and yet us Africans keep languishing down there with low paying jobs and lack of immigration documents. Unless we fix that, we will keep on struggling and it will become harder to get these student visas at the US consulates!

 

A Little Bit About Me!

 

I am a former international student in USA and I am a senior IT consultant in the areas of Oracle EBS Financials and Robotics Process Automation (RPA) here in USA. I am the programs director of Appstec America – A consulting company based in Tampa, Florida, USA.

I’ve been blessed to have learned a lot in my career as an IT consultant. My life has truly changed, and I’ve made it my mission to give back and serve others beyond myself.

 

Whether that be helping you to relocate to USA as an international student, train you as an IT consultant, help you start and build your own online business, creating your financial freedom, motivating you to pursue your goals and dreams, to being more productive, to inspiring you to constantly improve yourself.

 

My mission is to get you to wake up to the unlimited potential within you and achieve what you’re truly capable of through my various self-development training programs.

 

On the internet, I openly and passionately share my life experiences and all of the very best concepts, strategies, tools, and resources that I continue to discover that have made a measurable difference to my life, and will do for you as well.

 

Keep your dream alive and never give up!

To learn about our Kenya airlift program, a program that is transforming the lives of brilliant young Kenyans, please go to www.mastersforsmartkenyans.com

Feel free to contact me at success@successwithbobmwiti.com or info@appstecamerica.com or you can call me at  +1 813-573-5619 ext 402

 

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