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Majanja’s body received in Nairobi, to be buried Saturday in Kakamega

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BY BMJ MURIITHI

The body of Timothy Majanja, a 71-year-old homeless Kenyan who has been living in the United States and who, at one point, wanted to return home after 46 years in North America, arrived in Nairobi Thursday ready for burial in Lubao Village, Kakamega County on Saturday.

His body was received by Umash Funeral home in the Kenyan capital before it was transported by road to its final resting place in Kakamega.

Majanja died last month at at Grady Memorial Hospital in downtown Atlanta where he had been rushed in an ambulance while in critical condition.

Medical personnel at the hospital said he died from complications emanating to an earlier ailment which led to him having “extremely high blood pressure.”

Soon after receiving the news of his death, Majanja’s relatives in Lubao, Kakamega, expressed their wish that the body could be flown home for burial.

On Thursday, Protus told Ksnmedia that he was very happy that the body arrived home.

“Is this what we would have wished? Of course not…but I can tell you  that we are very delighted to see the body of  Mzee Majanja. This will bring some form of closure,” he said.

“We were devastated by the news and the elders here couldn’t fathom the idea of their son being buried or cremated  in a foreign land, thousands of miles away from his ancestral home,” said Protus Muhanji Shikoli, Majanja’s nephew.

“We have been through a lot as a family….we wished we could see him alive but obviously, it was not meant to be,” he added.

After Majanja’s death, well wishers, friends and family members got together and raised enough money to pay for the services at West Cobb Funeral home where the body was preserved and also to repatriate it to Kenya for burial.

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“Let us never grow weary of doing good,” said Pastor Salania Salania quoting part of a Biblical verse (Galatians 6:9 when Apostle Paul was writing to the Galatians). He was one of the organizers of a  fundraiser held at believers’ Center in Atlanta, Georgia, where close to $7,000 was raised. Most of those who contributed money had not even met Majanja in person. “We didn’t have to know him to help,” added Mr Salania.

According to Ms Catherine Ogembo, Majanja’s niece who lives in the New Hope City in Minnesota, and who is accompanying the boday, her uncle’s final journey will be on Saturday when he will be laid to rest on his piece of land in Kakamega.

Mr Majanja was in the news in 2014 when NTV aired a story about his plight in which he appealed for help to return to Kenya after living in North America for an uninterrupted period of 46 years.

He told the Nation that he had had enough of the US and wanted to go back to Kenya and rejoin his family. He however did not have any travel documents.

Following the story, many Kenyans expressed their willingness to help him return home.

Watch related video below:

Majanja left Kenya for Canada in 1968, moved to the state of Georgia in the United States in 1993, and has been living in squalor since losing his job 25 years ago.

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“I have been leading a miserable life here and it is high time I left this country,” he told this reporter in an interview on Memorial Drive in Atlanta, Georgia.

After the story aired, Mr Alphonce Shikoli, his elder brother, told NTV’s Namukabo Werunga that the family was excited to know that their relative was alive.

“We eagerly await the return of our ‘prodigal son’. We are fattening a bull to slaughter upon his arrival,” said Shikoli at his rural home in Lupao Village, Kakamega County.

 

In December of the same year, Majanja was hospialised at Grady Hospital where he had been taken after falling ill.

And in an email to the Nation then, an official at the Kenyan embassy in Washington, DC, said the hospital had been in touch, seeking help in tracing Mr Majanja’s relatives.

“But I was not able to talk to him as I was informed that he is not coherent,” said Ms Evelyn Cheluget, the then immigration attaché at the Kenyan mission.

In the 2014 interview which went viral,  Majanja, however, said he was stuck because he lost all his documents and cannot travel and appealed to the Kenyan Government, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to help him out.

POLITICAL OFFICE

In 1973, he was recruited by the Canadian government into the prestigious Royal Canadian Mounted Police, where he served before venturing into politics.

He run for political office as a city representative in Calgary, Alberta, before unsuccessfully contesting a vacant mayoral seat.

Mr Majanja, however, declined to disclose when or why he left the Canadian police service.

“That matter is confidential,” he said.

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After relocating to Atlanta, he worked for a transport company before losing his job.

“I lost my driver’s license and all the other documents which I had kept in a safe deposit at a local bank,” he said.

Mr Majanja said he has sought help several times from the US and Canadian governments without success.

“I have no single document and can’t travel anywhere,” he said, adding, “I appeal to the Kenyan embassy to give me some travel documents so I can visit my relatives back home.”




MARRIED TO CANADIAN

During the interview with the Nation, he showed photos of his sojourn in Canada in which he looked young and energetic.

“I married a Canadian lady and we had a son, but now I can’t even travel there to visit them,” he said.

“I thought I was strong enough, but now I need help,” added Majanja, who looked weak and a pale shadow of his former self.

Though hardly reported due to the stigma associated with homelessness, drug addiction or mental illness, cases of destitute Kenyans living in the United States have risen in recent years.

In 2012, the body of a homeless Kenyan was discovered in a lake near Boston, Massachusetts.

Early in 2014, police in Atlanta found a homeless and mentally unstable Kenyan man in a forest in Decatur, Georgia.

The authorities handed the man over to the pastor of a Kenyan community church who asked the congregation to raise money for his upkeep and eventual repatriation to Kenya.

In May of the same year, he was reunited with his family in Kenya.

Watch related video below: Is homelessness among Kenyans in US exaggerated?

 

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Diaspora

VIDEO: Mystery as Kenyan woman found dead in a car on the highway with rope around her neck

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After reports Sunday morning of a car stopped on the left side of southbound Loop 101 in Phoenix, Arizona, a Kenyan woman was found unresponsive in the car with a rope around her neck and later pronounced dead, the Department of Public Safety said.

The woman was identified as 29-year-old Stella W. Kiarie. She was an employee of the Arizona Department of Health Services where she worked with refugees.

Officials said Monday that after seeing there was a car seat in the woman’s car, detectives went to her house because they were concerned about the whereabouts of the child. Detectives found a 1-year-old baby boy alone at the house.

The Arizona Department of Child Safety responded and took over care for the child.

DHS also released a statement Monday confirming Kiarie’s death:

All of Stella’s colleagues at Arizona Department of Health Services were saddened by this news and this devastating loss. Stella was a kind, compassionate and important member of this team. Our deepest condolences are with her family and friends at this difficult time.

DPS says the HOV and two other lanes were closed four hours as the scene was under investigation.

No other details were released about the woman’s death. It is uncertain if it is being investigated as a suicide or homicide.

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The incident remains under investigation.

101 and Bell Rd

Upon arrival, troopers found a white vehicle crashed against the concrete median wall. The car had some damage to its passenger side.

Troopers determined that it had been traveling southbound on the highway when it crashed.

They then entered the car through an unlocked door and found an unconscious female in the driver’s seat, later determined to be Kiarie.

She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Kiarie was found with injuries that “were not consistent” with the minor crash with the median wall.

The Associated Press reported Sunday that troopers at the scene reported finding the woman “with a rope around her neck.”

A child safety seat was found in the vehicle, so detectives went to Kiarie’s home and found a 1-year-old boy by himself. He was taken into custody by the Arizona Department of Child Safety.

 

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Diaspora

PHOTOS/VIDEO: Atlanta based Kenyan woman in dire need of help

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BY CIRU GIKANGA

I am reaching out to all of you because I urgently need your help. In the many years we’ve not seen each other the Rheumatoid Arthritis has taken over and deformed most of my joints. I have put up this video to explain what help I need and why. Please watch to the end.

Here’s the brief part that sounds off in the beginning: “My name is Christine Ciru Gikanga and l have have been suffering from Rheumatoid Arthritis for 29 yrs going to clock 30 yrs in September 2018, having been diagnosed back in 1988 while in my 2nd yr in high school. Here is the GOFUNDME LINK

Watch the video below:

Attached are the pictures showing the progression of the disease: 1st picture was taken in 1999:

 

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Africa

US warns Kenyans over fake marriages, says they won’t be allowed to fly out

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The US embassy in Nairobi on Monday issued a warning to Kenyans getting duped into fake marriages to acquire a visa.

Through their official social media pages, the embassy advised caution in the event somebody offers to get you a green card using dubious means.

“Has anyone ever told you they can get a green card for you? Don’t believe them! They are lying and just trying to steal your money. Don’t believe them when they say you can have a fake marriage and still get your green card.

“If you apply with a fake marriage, you will get caught and you will not get your green card. You will become permanently ineligible to ever go to the United States, and you will never be able to get a U.S. visa or a green card,” the embassy warned.

Visa denied FILE/PHOTO

Kenyans were further urged to apply for a visa or the green card lottery by themselves.

The statement conveyed: “You don’t need to use a fixer to apply for the diversity visa or green card lottery. You can do it yourself and pay the required fee.”

The embassy stated that one should only apply through the Embassy’s official website.

“If you know about anyone promising they can get a green card for you if you enter into a fake marriage, go to the police and report them. You should also report them to the U.S. Embassy,” the statement concluded.

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Earlier last week, US Ambassador to Kenya Robert Godec announced that the United States government was gearing up to fight fake news in Kenya adding that it had eroded confidence in Kenya’s real news media.

Speaking during an interview, Godec stated: “Fake news is being weaponized. It’s undermining democracy in Kenya.”

President Uhuru Kenyatta with US Secretary of Transport Anthony Foxx (C) and Ambassador Robert Godec when he led a US business delegation to State House, Nairobi on June 25, 2015. PHOTO | PSCU

He further remarked: “We’re not asking them to believe any particular thing. We’re just urging people not to take everything they see on their phone via WhatsApp as the truth because it may not be.”

Source -Kenyans.co.ke

 

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