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Homeless Kenyan man dies in US after being away for 50 years

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BY BMJ MURIITHI

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, has died  in Atlanta, Georgia.

Sources at Grady Memorial Hospital in downtown Atlanta confirmed  that Mr Majanja was taken there in an ambulance while “in critical condition Saturday and we had to put him on life support machine before he passed on.”

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.

“We are devastated by the news and the elders here can’t fathom the idea of their son being buried in a foreign land, thousands of miles away from his ancestral home,” said Protus Muhanji Shikoli, Majanja’s nephew who spoke to this reporter by phone from Kakamega on Tuesday.

“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.

According to Ms Catherine Ogembo, Majanja’s niece who lives in the New Hope City in Minnesota, the hospital personnel had to enlist the help of the police in tracing his kin before “they made the decision to just let him rest in peace.”

She said the family was saddened by news of his demise.

READ ALSO:   Majanja's body received in Nairobi, to be buried Saturday in Kakamega

“His blood pressure was extremely high,” a source at the hospital, speaking on condition of anonymity, told this reporter.

Mr Majanja was in the news in 2014 when NTV aired a story 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.

“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.

READ ALSO:   Majanja's family appeals for help as fundraiser planned this Saturday in Atlanta to help fly body home

 

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.

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.

READ ALSO:   Majanja's body received in Nairobi, to be buried Saturday in Kakamega

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:

 

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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:

 

READ ALSO:   Majanja's family appeals for help as fundraiser planned this Saturday in Atlanta to help fly body home
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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.

READ ALSO:   Majanja's body received in Nairobi, to be buried Saturday in Kakamega

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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Business

Kenyan women in US gather in Atlanta this weekend for third KWITU reunion

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KWITU, a group of Kenyan women living in the USA are in Atlanta starting August 2nd to August 4th for the 3rd Annual Grand Reunion. The reunion is the largest gathering of Kenyan Women Living in the USA.

The theme this year is; “Unity and Integrity among the Kenyans Living in the Diaspora.” The line up and details of the three-day event are as follows:

August 2nd Karibu Night: ‪Thursday the 2nd of August will be “Karibu Night”.

Guests will have a meet and greet in a lounge, to welcome all who will be arriving from all corners of the USA and Canada! Karibu Night will be at: La Pura Vida 1995 Windy Hill Road Smyrna GA 30080

Networking & Panel Sessions:

Friday the 3rd, will be the networking and panel sessions.

There will be a keynote speaker and panels of speakers. Discussions will include issues affecting our Kenyan Community here in the USA, among others.

Hors D’oeuvres will be served on Friday. The topics of discussion on Friday includes:

1. Single Parenthood

2. Drug Addiction

3. Mental illness & Suicide

4. Domestic Violence

5. Access to education

6. Women in Business August

4th – Grand Gala: Saturday will be the Grand Gala event. There will be entertainment, a three-course dinner, keynote speaker and various presentations. KWITU – Women uplifting one another!

READ ALSO:   Majanja's family appeals for help as fundraiser planned this Saturday in Atlanta to help fly body home

According to the group’s mission statement posted on its website, KWITU aims to provide Kenyan women in the USA the sense of empowerment and see them soar to the heights of success. “As an organization, we aim to eradicate the factors holding back Kenyan women. By alleviating their difficulties, it’s possible to make Kenyan women realize the true potential that lies within them,” adds the statement.

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