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Suicide among Kenyan students in US reaches alarming levels

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They travel overseas to study but return not with degrees but in caskets.

Kenyan students going abroad for studies have been dying through suicide or under mysterious circumstances, which has left communities of Kenyans living in the US brainstorming on the need to hold the hands of learners who find themselves in the deep end outside their country.

Last week, the medical examiner’s office in Santa Clara, in the US state of California, confirmed that a top achiever in the 2013 national examinations lost her life through suicide.

POISONING

Norah Borus Chelagat, the fourth best student nationally in the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examination and the best girl in Nairobi, was found dead in her room at Stanford University on June 14.

She was at that time a master’s student at the university that she had joined in September 2014.

The Santa Clara medical examiner’s office told The Stanford Daily on Monday that the suicide was probably caused by poisoning.

The Stanford Daily said Norah’s was the fourth student death announced at the facility since February.

Then there is John Omari Hassan, a 26-year-old who in July drowned mysteriously in a pond in Baltimore, Maryland. That was four months after leaving Kenya for postgraduate studies in the US.

Baltimore County fire officials said people playing on a nearby basketball court heard someone yelling from the pond and ran over to help.

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SWIMMING

What shocked authorities was how the deceased ended up in the water as there were signs nearby warning against swimming in the pond. Hassan, who hailed from Nakuru, graduated from Kenyatta University in October 2016.

In August 2018, a Kenyan family had to seek help from well-wishers to bring back the remains of their kin who was found dead in her room in the US.

Patricia Miswa left Kenya in 2017 to pursue a master’s degree in Creative Writing at the University of Minnesota.

Her mother tried calling her but there was no response. She later called the hostel management who together with the police discovered Miswa’s lifeless body inside her room.

Before leaving for studies in the US, Miswa founded AfroElle magazine, which focused on uncelebrated women achievers.

Recently, students with Kenyan roots in the US have also lost lives in unclear circumstances.

INVESTIGATIONS

One of them is Eric Kang’ethe, a Computer Engineering student at the University of Massachusetts who died in mysterious circumstances early this month.

Kang’ethe’s body was found by police in a vehicle outside McGuirk Alumni Stadium on the evening of October 30. His death was described as “non-criminal in nature” by Mary Carey, communications director for the office of Northwestern District Attorney, which implied that the young man might have taken his life.

Massachusetts State Police said investigations surrounding his death are ongoing. According to local media, Kang’ethe was born in Nairobi and migrated with his family to the US.

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There is also Gift Kamau, a 20-year-old student whose body was found floating in the Mississippi River on May 18.

Before the discovery, Kamau had been reported as missing by her parents. Police at the time believed she had committed suicide after a note was found.

The deaths involving young Kenyans in the US have perturbed Dr DK Gitau, a Kenyan-born resident of Atlanta, Georgia. For almost a year now, Dr Gitau has been chronicling deaths involving Kenyans.

RISING CASES

Under the theme ‘Diaspora Shattered Dreams’, Dr Gitau, a former architectural engineer-turned- community social philanthropist, not only announces the deaths but also helps in mobilising resources for funeral purposes using his vast networks in the US.

Dr Gitau called on the Kenyan community to find ways of preventing the rising cases of stress-related deaths among Kenyans living overseas.

“As a community that is increasing in numbers in America, we can’t normalise nor become numb to these escalating pre-mature deaths among our people. The starting point is, of course, to openly talk about factors that are causing stress among our people. Burying our heads in the sand and pretending that all is well won’t do it,” he told the Sunday Nation.

According to Dr Sam Oginde, a psychology professor at Neumann University in Chester, Pennsylvania, it will be easy to find a solution.
“Right now, three out of five reported deaths among Kenyans in the US are either out of domestic violence or are from stress-related suicides. The irony is, something can be done about this if only the community is ready and willing to open up and candidly discuss what is causing this,” he said.

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MENTAL WARFARE
“Our community is not unique. Other immigrant communities have gone through this and were able to deal with the issue because they were willing to seek solutions.”
In the psychologist’s opinion, young adults have become casualties of “mental warfare”.

“We are seeing a lot of this, especially among young college and career adults who have a family also living here in the US. Suicides and premature deaths are most rampant between the ages of 19 to 36,” he says.

In 2017, a documentary about Kenyans in the US shed light on some untold challenges Kenyans face as immigrants while living there.

Written and produced by Kaba Mbugua, the film showed many Kenyans, just like other immigrants, struggle to make ends meet. Challenges have at times led some, especially the youth, to fall into bad company, ending up in jail, in shelters for the homeless, being deported or even losing their lives.

By Chris Wamalwa, nation.co.ke.

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Diaspora

VIDEO: Did you miss Peter Ng’ethe’s Funeral Service in Atlanta? Here it is

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A funeral Service for the late Peter Ng’ethe was held at Christ Harvesters Global Outreach Church on Saturday. The late Ng’ethe  was set to be buried on Saturday Feb 22, 2020 at Kennesaw Memorial Park in Marietta, Georgia Address1306 Whitlock Ave NW, Marietta, GA 30064 at 1.30PM.

On Friday Feb 21 2020, a wake in his honor at West Cobb Funeral Home between 5pm and 7pm. Address: 2480 Mcland Rd, Marietta, GA, 30064

Mr Ng’ethe passed away on Feb 1st, 2020.

He was a dear Husband to Serah Ng’ethe (Mama Njoki)
Father to Njoki Mwangi, John Njoroge and Makena Njoki.

May He Rest in Peace. Watch:

 

 

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Diaspora

VIDEO: Joy as 84 year-old Kenyan man who has lived in US for 60 yrs returns home to a rousing welcome [PHOTOS]

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BY CHRISTINE MUCHENE

A journey that started in March last year is now complete. Mr. James Mugweru has finally arrived in his motherland, Kenya, after 6 dacades in the United States.

It was pomp and colour as family and friends  gathered in Nakuru to welcome him with a very warm and rousing reception.
Mugweru, 84, came to the US through the famous educational air lift organized by the late Tom Mboya in 1959.He had only returned to Kenya twice in those 60 years he has been in the US.

Around March last year, I was approached by a young man in Kenya to help trace his grandfather whom they had never seen but would hear from stories that he lived in America.

It however did not take me long to fish him out of where he was, thanks to internet.

He was living in a facility for Senior Citizens in Union city, Georgia.

I thereafter introduced him to my Church family – Kenyan American Community Church (KACC) – and they contributed money for his ticket to Kenya.

Mugweru left the country on February 19th.

I would like to thank all those who have walked this one year journey with him providing the much needed stuff and above all, loving him as Christ would do.

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He has always been intrigued by the concern some of you have shown.

Mr. Mugweru has 2 living siblings aged 100 and 80 who were eager and looking forward to reuniting with their lost brother.
Finally thank you Atlanta Kenyan community for believing in my Judgment towards serving God’s people. Without all of you, I would not be of help to the community. God bless.

We do hope that he will come back to visit as you all know that after having lost reality with a country he left long time ago, it can be rough especially in old age and the most needed health care can be out of reach due to lack of money.

This man has been away for too long and those back home could be having high expectation of him and if the same is not there, the happiness may just be temporary leading to abandonment.

He left Kenya undeveloped and the whole country will appear strange not to mention the culture shock.

We, all the same, hope that God will guide him.  To the great people who have given him great love, God bless all.

Chances are he will come back as he cannot fit in Kenya after even loosing his mother tongue and cannot fluently speak Kiswahili which is also forgotten.

READ ALSO:   US welcomed 756,000 new Citizens last year, set to welcome 34,000 this month

It is not easy for James as this is simply a very sad case and maybe a lesson for many, to be prepared and able to face the uncertain, unknown future.

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Diaspora

VIDEO: Kenyan woman deported from the US after 21 Years now living in squalor in Nairobi

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BY BMJ MURIITHI

A Kenyan woman who moved to the US in 1986 and was deported 21 years later is now leading a miserable life in Nairobi.

Joy Mukwanjero who was born in Meru – but for the most part brought up in Nairobi- says she had nothing to show for her long stay in “the land of plenty” as she had fallen into wrong company before the immigration officials came calling.

In an interview with Tuko News, Joy, who went to some of the best schools in Kenya, tells of how – upon arrival in the US – she got married to a man who introduced her to “partying.”

“I took a job in the hospitality industry and also enrolled for a political science course at the University of San Fransisco but dropped out midway to focus on my job.”

She says it was after moving in with her husband that she became an alcoholic.

“We soon separated and I moved to a different city in California,” she says.

She was later arrested by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers over lack of proper documents.

Joy was detained for some time and was later deported.

With nothing to show for her stay and while still battling addiction, she began looking for a job in the hospitality industry but with no success.

READ ALSO:   Body of Kenyan man found on an apartment floor in US

She later checked herself  into a rehabilitation center.

A pale shadow of her former self, a jovial looking Joy still hopes that her dreams will one day come true.

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