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VIDEO: Homeless Kenyans in the US and the Dark Secrets

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“There was one shower, for the entire floor. There were bedbugs. There were rats. People come from the streets with all sorts of things, you know. It was difficult. It was very difficult,” so begins my conversation with Moses Munene, who was homeless in Washington DC.

Yet that’s not what comes to mind when you speak to Moses Munene, now a property developer in Kenya.

As he narrates his tale with charming candour it is difficult to lump the arresting personality with an image of those who bear the tag ‘homeless’.

But for one and a half years, Munene was indeed homeless in Washington DC, the capital of the United States, the land of opportunity, or so it has been termed.

A Kenyan by birth, he travelled to the US in 2002, seeking medical treatment after a bad fall injured his spine, he was 36 then.

“Once I got to DC, I stayed with one guy for two to three days, who then took me to a Christian place where I could live but they wouldn’t take me in. I called the Kenyan embassy then but they didn’t have any options, so I slept out in the cold that night.”

Perhaps it was a foreshadowing of things to come but Munene could not have known this then. After two nights in the cold, a lady from the Kenyan embassy referred him to Christ House.

“I was taken in by a medical facility for the homeless, Christ House. They arranged everything from my medical insurance to planning for my surgery.

“I stayed there for around six months but they could only host me for the duration of my treatment. Once that ended, they had no choice but to take me to a shelter.”

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This was the turn of the road where Munene, a man of great faith as is evident from the references he splices in throughout our conversation, began his solitary sojourn into the world of homelessness.

Lunch

“It was hard. In the shelter, once you wake up in the morning you leave so they can clean. So I used to go to hotels where meetings were held. I’d spend my whole day there, sometimes I’d get lunch if they were serving it and come back to the shelter in the evening.”

Pulling from his wealth of memories, Munene paints me a picture of the shape that life took while he lived at the shelter.

“Everyone has their own bed where you put your suitcase, sometimes it gets really cold and you don’t want to leave. People would smoke in the shelter so when you came in you’d find everyone smoking everywhere.”

Munene explained that the shelter had a six-month policy. Once you exhausted your months, you’d have to go back to the streets. Yet, with the industrious spirit of the motherland colouring his bones, the Kenyan got a job as a desk monitor and was able to extend his stay for another six months.

I asked Munene how his family allowed him to live in a shelter in a foreign country, yet he had a house waiting for him in Kenya.

“My family didn’t know I was in the shelter, I lied. I told them I was in college because once you are here people expect you to have a certain kind of income.”

READ ALSO:   SAD: Homeless Kenyan man dies in snow in US, family seeks answers

For every hill, a valley and Munene eventually emerged into the light when his troubles made it to the ears of Kenyans in the diaspora.

“When Kenyans in Washington found out that their fellow countryman was living in a shelter, they came together and had a small fundraiser after which I was able to rent an apartment.

With the rest of the money, I set up a small curio stand in DC. I would get the things from Kenya: they’d send me kiondo’s and earrings and things like that and that’s what I did for nine years.”

Not one to miss an opportunity, he narrates how he learned to work the system so he wouldn’t have to rely solely on imports from Kenya.

“Sometimes I’d go to New York once a month, you could find earrings from China that looked like the ones from Kenya. I’d buy a dozen for 12 dollars and sell a pair for 10 dollars. I’d mix them up with the ones in Kenya which made things easier for me because importing from Kenya was expensive.”

Eventually, as it always does, life came full circle and Munene came back to Kenya lifetimes wiser to start his business. However, he was quick to clarify that the homelessness that he had to battle and grapple was not a lone occurrence but rather an open secret among many nationals who seek their fortunes in the US.

Moses Munene at his curio stand which he ran for 9 years. PHOTO|COURTESY

“Kenyans are homeless, you go to places especially in Baltimore and you find a big group of Kenyans who are homeless. They live in abandoned buildings. They light fires in the wintertime to ward off the cold.

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In DC, I met people who’ve been there since the Tom Mboya Airlift: old men, people who’ve been there for a very long time. There was an ageing Luo I met, he was hungry most of the time. It [homelessness] is a very difficult thing.”

I ask him why they stay, why they wouldn’t just come back home. He explains that for them, it is difficult to return with empty hands from a land where they are expected to draw the milk and the honey.

“I have a friend there [in the US], the brother of a former Cabinet minister. The guy was homeless then, yet they are well up in Kenya. He doesn’t go back home because they’d ask him what he’s been doing. He has degrees, he has a masters from there.”

With a clarity sharpened by experience, he explains the situation, “They have that fear, to go back home with nothing to show.”

Munene is perhaps luckier than most. While he was able to return, those he has left behind can no longer be covered with the muslin cloth that we have weaved with our fantasies of America, the promised land.

Yet, these Kenyans on the streets of Baltimore, of DC, of Atlanta have homes. Maybe what bars the door are the locks of our own expectations, the expectations we place on the heads of those who leave like a crown.

“It takes a lot of courage to come back,” says Munene, a statement that bears more gravity than we should allow it.

SOURCE-Kenyans.co.ke

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Diaspora

Kenyan man goes missing in US, police ask for help in the search [VIDEO]

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LAWRENCE, MASS. (WHDH) – Lawrence police are seeking the public’s help in their search for a missing man, officials said.

Daniel Mwangi, 31, has been reported missing, officials said on Thursday last week October 8 2020,he had previously complained of a headache and was advised to see a Doctor

The last day he was active on Facebook was Friday after which all his electronic devices went off

Anyone with information is asked to call the Lawrence Police Department at 978-794-5900

Anybody with information of Daniels’s whereabout is requested to contact:

Joseph #617 256 9043, Diana #781 475 7420, Pastor Karanja #617 784 5729

or call the Police Department nearest to you.

 

READ ALSO:   VIDEO: US born Kenyan reveals three things he wishes he knew about Kenya
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Diaspora

HOPE: 36 year old man who scored D+ in Kenya now has 5 degrees from US universities!

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BY BMJ MURIITHI

They say when one door is shut somewhere, a window – or even another door – is open someplace else. The story of US-based Mwangi Mukami reads like fiction.

In his own words, the Kenya education system wrote him off when he got a D+ in his high school exams (KCSE). However, upon landing in the US (where, by and large, people are judged by the content of their character without laying too much emphasis on past failures or mistakes), he embarked on a journey to fulfil his educational dreams.

He went back to school and, as we speak, he has just received his fifth degree at the age of 36. Many Kenyans in US can can relate to Mukami’s story. It resonates because many of them – or their friends and family members – had lost hope in Kenya but the United States offered them a second chance. Now they have their well earned degrees which they would otherwise have only dreamt of. We must add a rider here that although there is no doubt that  opportunities abound in the US, you still have to work very hard to earn those degrees.

Here is Mr Mwangi Mukami  in his own words:

BY MWANGI MUKAMI
I have just received my graduate diploma from UC Berkeley. 20+ years ago, Kenya’s education system wrote me off as a failure because I had a D+.
I remember vividly saying to my peers that I wanted to be a policymaker or an attorney. Their response was a burst of collective laughter and sneer. But here I am—five degrees at 36. I hope God grants me a long life, success, and wealth to open doors of opportunities for more D+ students.
For the misfits, the rejected, and the oppressed. Congratulations to my mom. The degree is a reflection of her tenacity. I am grateful and honored to have wonderful brothers and sisters who support and trust my ability to achieve: Elizabeth Mwariri Keyym Peters, Lissa Irvenne Kayte Khulgal Jeph Collins.
READ ALSO:   SAD: Kenyan woman dies in Washington DC

I couldn’t have done it without the encouragement of Kay Ventura, Carol McCrary, and Betty Mc Crary Alarms, And I can’t forget Elizabeth Woods for the many nights she drove to take me to school.

Jim Foti for the countless recommendation letters Joe Beasley for initial grant to attend a community college.

I am because of all these people and I couldn’t be so grateful and honored to have them in my life. For Nick, the next step is a JD.

Image may contain: ‎text that says '‎THE REGENTS OF THE University of Calitornia ON THE NOMINATION OF THE FACULTY OF THE RICHARD AND RHODA GOLDMAN GRADUATE SCHOOL OF PUBLIC POLICY HAVE CONFERRED UPON MOSES MWANGI MUKAMI THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS WITH ALL THE RIGHTS AND PRIVILEGES THERETO PERTAINING GIVEN AT BERKELEY THIS FIFTEENTH DAY OF MAY IN THE YEAR TWO THOUSAND AND TWENTY OVERNOR OF CALIFORNIA AND PRESIDENT THE REGENTS yat n,ב ESIDENT OF THE UNIVERSITY CurolT. Chrish CHANCELLOR AT BERKELEY ag...baly מAפם THE &. braly SCHOOL‎'‎

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Africa

Uhuru names Amb. Martin Kimani new envoy to NY as he moves to cement his legacy in foreign affairs

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President Uhuru Kenyatta has either moved or nominated envoys to fill 12 positions globally. In the new line-up, Uhuru  has settled on a member of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) taskforce Amb Martin Kimani as the new Kenya’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations who will be based in New York.

The position fell vacant when Amb Lazarus Amayo moved to Washington DC as the envoy to US.

But who is Ambassador Martin Kimani? He was the Director of Kenya’s National Counter Terrorism Centre and Special Envoy CVE, and once served as the Permanent Representative and Head of Mission to the United Nations at Nairobi and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).

Kimani holds an MA and PhD in War Studies from King’s College of the University of London and is a Fellow of the African Leadership Initiative and the Aspen Global Leadership Program.

He was also the 2013 Distinguished African Visiting Fellow at the South African Institute of International Affairs.

Learn more here:

 

Kenyatta has also nominated three former IEBC commissioners for deputy head of mission positions in the latest appointments.

Connie Maina, Paul Kurgat and Margaret Mwanchanya have been picked as deputy heads of mission in the latest changes made by the Head of State.

READ ALSO:   VIDEO: Jeff Koinange's comments about life in US rile some Kenyans

The list of nominees features 25 people who are expected to fill up the positions of high commissioner, permanent representative, ambassadors and deputy heads of missions.

According to an Executive Order signed by Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua, and released on Thursday evening; the group will join the country’s foreign service in various capacities.

The order states partly, “His Excellency the President has on this fifteenth day of October 2020, caused nominations and appointments to the senior ranks of the public service for persons to serve the nation as Ambassadors, High Commissioners and Permanent Representatives in Kenya’s Embassies/High Commissions/Missions abroad. The persons who by dint of the Presidential action will join our nation’s esteemed foreign service…”

Former IEBC vice chair Consolata Nkatha has been picked as the deputy head of mission in Rome, Italy. Her colleagues, Paul Kurgat and Margaret Mwanchanya will occupy similar positions in Moscow (Russia) and Islamabad (Pakistan) respectively.

Below is the list of individuals nominated for the positions of deputy heads of missions:

In the order, Amb John Tipis who headed the Directorate of the African Union heads to Canberra as Kenya’s High Commissioner to Australia. Immaculate Wambua has been picked as Kenya’s High Commissioner to Canada, and she will be based in Ottawa. Closing the list is Amb Catherine Mwangi who will be Kenya’s High Commissioner to South Africa. She will be based in Pretoria.

READ ALSO:   SAD: Homeless Kenyan man dies in snow in US, family seeks answers

 

In the list of appointments are 12 people who have been picked for ambassadorial positions. They include Amb Jean Kamau (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia), Linday Kiptiness (Bangkok, Thailand), Amb Tom Amolo (Berlin, Germany), Amb Lemarron Kaanto (Brasilia, Brazil), Amb Daniel Wambura (Bujumbura, Burundi), Stella Munyi (Harare, Zimbabwe), Maj. Gen. (Rtd.) Samuel Nandwa (Juba, South Sudan), Maj. Gen. (Rtd.) Ngewa Mukala ) Khartoum, Sudan), Amb Benson Ogutu (Moscow, Russia), Joshua Gatimu (Tehran, Iran), Amb Tabu Irina (Tokyo, Japan) and Amb Jean Kimani (UNHABITAT).

Resignation from IEBC

The three former IEBC officials announced resigned from the commission on April 16, 2018, claiming that their boss Wafula Chebukati was incapable of running the IEBC affairs.

“For far too long and way too many times, the commission chair has failed to be the steady and stable hand that steers the ship in difficult times and gives direction when needed,” the trio said in a statement.

They added: “Instead under Chebukati’s leadership, the commission boardroom has become a venue for peddling misinformation, grounds for brewing mistrust and a space for scrambling and chasing individual glory and credit”.

But on August 12, 2018, Justice Wilfrida Okwany ruled that the commissioners did not legally tender their resignation and were still adjudged to be in office. The court ruled that the trio ought to have resigned in writing rather than in the press conference.

READ ALSO:   Dedication of Bethesda Empowerment International Church (BEIC) new location in Atlanta this weekend

“As I have already found in this judgement, the issue of the alleged resignation of the four commissioners was a matter that was neither here nor there and was not proved by any tangible evidence,” said Okwany.

-Standardmedia.co.ke

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