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How things fall apart for Kenyans in US

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When news about Al-Shabaab bride Violet Kemunto bride broke out last month, the Nation team set out on a mission to locate her home in Kisii County.

A lead took the team to Nyankoba in Kitutu Masaba and Kiomiti in Nyaribari Masaba. It is there that they ended up locating the home of Violet Nyaroka, not her real name. Except she wasn’t Violet. Her story was different.

Nyaroka has been in the US since 2006 and her relatives say she went there on a green card. She later informed them that she had enrolled in a college to study medicine.

In the years since 2006, she has visited her relatives in Kisii only once, back in January 2018, when she came for her mother’s burial. Her father died in 2001. After he died, her grandparents took up the role of funding her education in Kenya.

Her kin told the Nation that they do not know much about their granddaughter’s life or what she does now in the US.

“All I know is that she went to study medicine. We rarely communicate and when we do, it is usually brief with very scanty disclosures. We last spoke two months ago when I was inquiring about some succession issues regarding our parents’ property,” said Nyaroka’s brother.

When the Nation contacted Nyaroka for comment on the concerns raised by her relatives, her response was curt.

“And who are you? Stop threatening me. Where I live and what I do is nobody’s business. Mind your own business,” she said.

Nyaroka is among many Kenyans who reside in the US but have gone quiet on their families, with little known about their lives.

Her case is not unusual, David Ombati, a senior chief in Masaba South Sub-County, told the Nation.

“Many other people from this region have left for the US. How they go and what they do is not known. And with the nature of today’s life where people do not want to be bothered, it becomes difficult to ask questions,” he said.

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Cases of Kenyan immigrants in the US failing to return home for decades have left many of their relatives worried, sometimes more about their plight.

According to a 2018 Bloomberg report, there are 120,000 Kenyans who legally live and work in the US.

The figure could be higher when illegal immigrants are accounted for, especially those who go on student or visitor’s visas but do not return when they expire.

But many other Kenyans are stuck in America even when they could be better off here, and some rarely visit or talk to relatives.

Former University of Nairobi lecturer Omari Onyango said various circumstances force some Kenyans to continue living in the US even when it harms their well-being.

“There are those who have tried to find either meaningful employment or a viable business in Kenya before they can relocate. Both are difficult to come by for various reasons,” said Dr Onyango, who runs a successful dental clinic in Los Angeles, California.

Onyango, quoting an unpublished manuscript by Dr Marvin Opiyo titled Stuck in the USA: African Immigrants, said Kenyans who have established families in America find themselves stuck there because academic standards are superior and schools are well-funded and more reliable than in Kenya.

“In regard to employment, Kenya is experiencing a high unemployment rate and so to land a job with similar benefits as is the case in the US is difficult,” said Onyango.

He added: “Those who have tried to start a business in Kenya end up losing large sums of money because of lack of honesty among their relatives. Nobody wants to relocate until they have an ongoing income-generating venture back home.”

Opiyo, who is a teacher in California, says high and unrealistic expectations have landed many Kenyans in the US in trouble.

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“The school system in America is not easy. Many people do not understand this system before they start putting high demands on people who live in America,” said Opiyo.

“Kenyans, especially women, enjoy expanded social and economic freedom abundant in the US and, therefore, find no incentive to return to Kenya.”

Onyango said weak law enforcement agencies also make Kenyans in the diaspora reluctant to return home.

A story is told of a man from Bomachoge in Kisii County who went to the US ostensibly for further studies. Only death brought him home after two decades in America.

Joseph Omambia, not his real name, abandoned his wife and three children 10 years ago. They are now in college and only see him on WhatsApp.

Their mother, a senior official in a Kenyan parastatal, has been taking care of their children alone.

In another case, when Tom Orina, not his real name, left his parents’ Karen home in Nairobi for the US about 20 years ago to complete his undergraduate degree in business management, he did not know what awaited him.

When his father, a former Kanu operative in President Daniel arap Moi’s regime, mooted the idea that the young man should transfer from the United States International University (USIU-Africa) to a university in San Diego, he was halfway through his studies.

Before young Orina took his flight to the US, his father convened a fundraiser in which millions were raised for his college tuition, accommodation and living expenses.

His father booked his flight to the US and promised to send him the money before he landed in California, saying it would be risky to carry the cash to America.

Soon after arriving in California, Orina found out that his father had not sent a penny to the college admissions office.

His calls went unanswered. His mother, unemployed and dependent on subsistence farming in western Kenya, did not have money to bail him out and soon found himself among the homeless.

READ ALSO:   PHOTOS: Kenyan woman who died in Atlanta buried

US-based Kenyan journalist Peter Makori said that there are many other students from Kenya whose parents sent them to America on the false hope that it is the land of dreams, milk and honey, where everything works out well in the end.

“What they don’t appreciate is that when you come on a student visa, you risk deportation if you’re caught doing any job,” Makori said.

The strict enforcement of the law in the US has seen many Kenyan immigrants locked up.

In November last year, Kenyans living in Minnesota convened a meeting to deliberate on how the community could salvage its badly damaged image.

The meeting took place against the backdrop of an increasing number of Kenyans being imprisoned for engaging in criminal activities.

Makori said several Kenyans, especially men, have been arrested and charged with rape and wife-battering.

In June last year, a group of Kenyan immigrant men met in Atlanta, Georgia, and formed “Maendeleo ya Wanaume(an empowerment group for men) to rail against women, many of them Kenyans, who allegedly called police on them at the slightest provocation.

A documentary written and produced by Kaba Mbugua shed light on some untold challenges Kenyans face as immigrants in the US.

The film, released in Raleigh, North Carolina, features a number of Kenyans who candidly share their ordeals in the US.

The documentary revealed that many Kenyans, just like other immigrants, struggle to make ends meet.

Challenges have at times led some — especially the young — to fall into bad company, ending up in jail, shelters for the homeless, on a forced flight back home or even death.

The film highlights the misconceptions held by Kenyans about life in the “land of the free.”

Source: Daily Nation

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Diaspora

Kenyans in the diaspora agonise as the deadline for e-passport nears

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Kenyans living in the diaspora are concerned that they might not get the new e- passports on time despite a deadline extension announced recently by the government and a directive by President Uhuru Kenyatta that the documents be issued in their countries of residence.

Citizens living overseas who spoke to the Nation pleaded for the government to intervene and put things in order at its embassies abroad.

On Friday, Foreign Affairs PS Macharia Kamau told the Nation his ministry was working with the Immigration Department to ensure centres for passport applications abroad started working.

“We have identified missions where the programme will start. It is a process that has already been initiated,” he said.

Embassies will first have to deploy more personnel, but Kenyans abroad were being encouraged to register on the diaspora portal.

This, the ministry says, will help establish the areas to prioritise for the centres. Initially, the Interior ministry, which houses the Immigration Department, said it would start with a centre in North America, another in the Middle East and South Africa before expanding gradually.

So arrogant

But a Kenyan residing in Germany expressed displeasure at the kind of services offered at the embassy in Berlin.

“When we call at the Berlin Embassy it is hell on earth! They pick no calls and when they pick, they are so arrogant. How will we be able to travel? Even after protesting at the Berlin Embassy there is no change,” she said, requesting anonymity for fear of reprisals.

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But Ms Selline Branis Onalo, who represented Kenyans in Mexico and other central American countries described the tribulations they go through. As Kenya doesn’t have a resident embassy in Mexico City, it runs relations through the mission in Washington.

“It is like the Embassy has forgotten its role in Mexico. Some of us tried to write to the authorities including emails to the Kenyan Embassy in Washington DC, which covers Mexico. We haven’t heard anything from them,” she told the Nation.

In the entire Americas, Kenya has embassies in the US, Cuba, Brazil and Canada, collectively serving more than a dozen countries.

Officially, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs manages diplomatic missions abroad. But specific services like passport issuance are provided by the same departments as at home. That means the Immigration Department will have to send attaches to all embassies to ensure the service is provided there.

In September last year, Kenyans held peaceful demonstrations in Berlin to protest against poor services at the embassy.

They also complained about how they were forced to travel back home to renew their passports. Later in December, Deputy President William Ruto announced that the deadline for obtaining new generation passports was extended from August 2019, to an unspecified date in 2020.

READ ALSO:   VIDEO: Tragedy as man hit by the car he was driving

source:Daily Nation

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Africa

PHOTOS: Uhuru arrives in Mauritius for four-day State Visit

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President Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday evening arrived in Port Louis, Mauritius for a four-day State Visit.

The plane carrying Mr Kenyatta and his entourage touched down at the Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport shortly before 7pm local time.

On arrival, the President – who was received by Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth – inspected a guard of honour mounted by a detachment of the special mobile force of the Mauritius Police Service followed by a 21-gun salute.

After the arrival ceremonies,  Kenyatta paid a courtesy call on the Acting President of Mauritius Paramasivum Pillay Vyapoory at State House, Le Reduit.

His visit to Mauritius is largely aimed at boosting the economic, cultural and social ties between the two nations, according to PSCU.

The forum will be used to showcase trade and investment opportunities in Mauritius and Kenya.

President Kenyatta is accompanied by Cabinet Secretaries Monica Juma (Foreign Affairs) and Prof. George Magoha (Education) among other senior government officials.

PHOTO COURTESY: PSCU

READ ALSO:   PHOTOS: Kenyan woman who died in Atlanta buried
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Diaspora

Death Announcement: Edward Kimando Of Lowell, Massachusetts

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It is with great sadness that we announce the sudden death of Edward Kimando (Baba Ian). He was husband to Salome Kimani of Calvary Evangelical Church, father to Ian Kiuna (PCEA Imani), Faith Kiuna & Mercy Kiuna.

Son of Samuel Kimando & Jane Nyambura of Uplands Kenya. Son-in-law to Geoffrey Gìtua & Sarah Kimani (Dada Sarah) of PCEA Neema church Lowell. Brother in law to Mary Kimani (Hairdresser) & John Micheal (Tush) of Christian Community Fellowship (CCF) Lowell among others.

Prayers will be held daily at their residence 64 WEED ST, LOWELL MA  Daily from 7pm starting tonight for funeral arrangements and sending the body back home to Kenya.
For more details pls contact;
Salome Kimani……..9783284492
Geoffrey Gitua ……..9783282092
Mary Kimani…………9784839408
John Micheal……….5084843034
Pastor Kìhìko……….9789962519
Pastor Nyagah……..9787616214
Pastor Karìmi……….9783190056

Your prayers, presence and contributions will be highly appreciated.
God bless you!!

SOURCE: Samrack.com

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