I know you guys are used to seeing musicians and actresses on my guest posts but please know that I do know other people. People who make Kenya proud abroad in their own way. People like Mukurima X Muriuki .
I know most of you have seen in his articles on local dailies in Kenya and some have a clue that he lives in the US. A finance and accounting professional runs a blog similar to mine but more organised. And he hardly has typos in his articles like some people. So anyways I picked his brain regarding life abroad and luckily he found time between drawing graphs and adding numbers. Ebu just read below all the smart things he said!
- As a blogger and journalist, what are some of the common issues Africans and more specifically Kenyans face abroad?
I would not call myself a journalist. I am not trained in the field, though as a child I wanted to pursue that line. But Shakespeare said dreams are children of an idle mind begot of nothing, but vain fantasy. All I have now is a thirst for the journalism world and I try to quench that thirst by writing and blogging.
While migration experiences differ from one individual to another, there are shared challenges when it comes to life in a new domicile. People back home communicate in a certain way and the new country of residence may have a unique way of communication and this is challenging in the formative days! In the African culture, there is an unwritten rule you cannot look at a person in the same bracket as your parents, straight in the eye; however, in America, for example, not looking someone in the eye maybe construed to mean you are lying. Knowing what verbal and nonverbal cues mean can take time, and the learning curve comes with one having to step on a few toes!
There are also expectations back home. Once you land in the foreign land, people assume that you have it big. I see many Africans struggling to deal with this in their formative months. In the same vein, those migrating feel they have something to prove back home and as such they take up any job that comes their way so that the earning is realized as soon as possible. So, you find a person who was an engineer in Kenya taking up a menial job. Nothing wrong with menial jobs, but I think an engineer is worth more.
The concept of “home” is also not very clear. Many times, we thrive in the duality of belonging, which is a conflict- Are you in America to stay or are you going back to Kenya? If you have children born in America, and you want to move back to Kenya, are you going to uproot them from their country of birth?
2. Do you think Kenyan’s take full advantage of opportunities they find abroad?
Kenyans have come of age. My interactions with Kenyans leave me with the conclusion that indeed we are taking advantage of the opportunities. Of course Kenyans can do more by being their brother or sister’s keeper and informing one another of existing or potential jobs that they believe their countrymen can thrive at. It is difficult to say if Kenyans support Kenyan businesses. At times the competition is naked for all to see. And this also applies to churches.
3. If you were to move back home what would you miss most about the US?
I do want to move back home in a few years. What I will miss is the straight forward way of doing business and the adequate infrastructure.
4. And what do you miss most in Kenya?
I miss my family. My two sisters, cousins and friends! Above all I miss the evening trip to Baricho, taking tea and the local and catching up with my grandfather’s friends; learning from them and them asking me tough questions!
5. Given a chance with Trump , what would you tell him about Kenya and Kirinyanga to be more specific?
I want to interview Trump. It would be fun. I would tell him the truth about Kirinyaga, and follow that up with an invitation to the greatest county in Kenya. Can you imagine Trump being mesmerized by the Bridge of God in Kutus, watching a local derby in Baricho between Kiandangae FC and Mukinduri FC and understanding why Adinesi and Kata Pingu are Future hall of famers! I would then take him to Mwea and see what it takes to grow rice, get him to Sagana to enjoy some Bunjee jumping to get the stress of Robert Muller investigation out of his system. And since Trump doesn’t drink, how about him sampling some of the best tea the world has ever tasted in Kangaita! I mean Kirinyaga has everything that Trump needs right now!