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DREAM COME TRUE: How a Kenyan man is living his dream as a US Marine

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Cpl. Cecil Otieno always wanted to be a military officer, but growing up in Kenya, he faced many challenges.

“Back at home I was thinking of joining the military and my aim was to become an officer,” said Otieno. “But at home I couldn’t join the military because it was too corrupt, and only certain tribes could join.”

After arriving in America in 2010, Otieno decided to pursue his dream of becoming a military officer and joined the Marine Corps.

“When I went to see a recruiter they told me, ‘No you can’t, because you’re not a citizen’ and that’s why I decided to go Reserve, get my citizenship, get a four-year degree and then be able to live my dream of leading Marines.”

Life in Kenya

Otieno grew up in Nakuru, Kenya, the fourth largest urban area in the country.

“We didn’t have most of the things I have right now,” he said. “Getting food … getting basic needs … was tough. There were days me and my family had to go without food.”

Despite the challenges they faced, his family insisted Otieno and his three brothers went to school.

“Accessing school was hard because it all depended on your family income,” he said. “We lived miles away from school so if my dad couldn’t afford the bus fare, we had to walk far to school. It was tough.”

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In order to get to school on time, Otieno had to start his two-hour walk at 5:00 a.m., every morning.

“After school at 5:00 p.m., we would start walking back and make it home around 7:00 p.m. and then we had to cook, fetch water and clean our school uniform,” he said. “We only had one uniform so we had to clean it for the next day of school.”

Otieno would attempt to study after doing his chores.

“We didn’t have electricity so we used a kerosene lantern, if there was no kerosene that day, there would be no studying.”

Otieno graduated high school in 2005, and went to college in Kenya in 2007 where he met his future wife. After graduating the three-year school, he got a job working for the United Nations environmental program and obtained his green card.

One step closer

After getting his green card, 23-year-old Otieno decided to move to America where he hoped to create a better life for himself and his family in Kenya.

“Considering where I came from, I thought if I work hard enough I will be able to change our situation back home,” he said.

During his search for a job, a friend told him about the Marine Corps and Otieno liked the idea.

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“I wanted the challenge and also wanted the brotherhood,” he said. “The fact that I was able to get my papers and be able to bring my family to America was a great push too.”

While in boot camp, Otieno received some wonderful news; he had a son. He graduated as a Marine April 1, 2011.

Achieving goals and setting new ones

Otieno began the process of becoming a U.S. citizen shortly after graduating boot camp.

Special provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act authorize U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to expedite the application and naturalization process for current members of the U.S. armed forces. Otieno became a U.S. citizen, Jan. 23, 2012.

After receiving his citizenship, he went back to Kenya to marry his wife and meet his son. He spent two weeks with his son and has not able to spend any time with him since, but his wife moved to America to be with him in August 2013.

Otieno’s son is currently living with his grandmother, Otieno’s mom, in Kenya. Otieno and his wife are anxious to reunite with their son in July or August this year once the paperwork is complete.

Last summer, Otieno completed the first phase of Platoon Leaders Class. The PLC is just one of the paths that can lead to commissioning as an officer in the Marine Corps. For college freshmen and sophomores, PLC normally consists of two, six-week training sessions taken between school years.

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Once commissioned, Otieno hopes to become a signal intelligence officer because it closely relates to his major and what he studied in Kenya.

“A week ago the 4th Marine Logistics Group commanding general asked me, ‘What do you want to do when you become an officer?’ and I told him signal intelligence. He told me, ‘Wrong. You want to become a Marine Corps officer.”

Cpl. Otieno is currently serving on active-duty operational support orders as a supply clerk for 4th Dental Battalion, 4th Marine Logistics Group, in Georgia; he also maintains a full-time student schedule.

He attended Kennesaw State University where he worked toward his bachelor’s degree in geographical information and was commissioned in May 2015 after he receives his degree.

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:

 

 

READ ALSO:   Kenyan woman, Lucy Karuri (Mama Wambui) dies in US
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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.

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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:   Kenyan woman, Lucy Karuri (Mama Wambui) dies 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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