‘Unusual’ number of Diaspora home for holidays

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An unusually large number of Kenyans living abroad traveled home this festive season to be with family and friends as they celebrated Jamhuri day, Christmas and ushered in the New Year.

The numbers of the Diaspora in the villages, streets of urban centers and major tourist attractions in Kenya was so unprecedented as to be easily noticeable.

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"I’ve met not less than twenty Kenyans that I know very well from Lowell, in Massachusetts, either in the streets of Nairobi or Thika. I come home every Christmas and this is the first time I’ve seen these many folks from my neighborhood back in the US," said John Njuguna, a Kenyan resident of Lowell, Mass.

 

Sammy Rurigi, a Kenyan resident of Bear, Delaware in USA who was on vacation in Kenya now sees his country differently. "If you don’t travel away from home and experience how life is out there, you are not in a position to fully appreciate what your country has to offer. Kenya is the best country in the world and I look forward to coming back every holiday," he said after celebrating his friend’s birthday at Taidys restaurant near T Mall in Nairobi West.

 

Topi Lyambila of London, UK said there were many ‘London’ Kenyan faces in the streets of Nairobi during this season unlike any other. "What is encouraging is the fact that many of them are not just here on holiday but to follow up on some investment venture of some kind. This is very good for our country in the sense that its people spread around the world are responding to the call to invest at home," Topi said.

Elkanah Odembo, Kenya’s Ambassador to the US, confirmed that his office processed an unusually large number of passports for Kenyans preparing to travel home for holidays.

He said the Kenyan embassy in Washington, DC was almost overwhelmed with the applications.

"I’m told by my officers that the number of passport applications by those wishing to travel home was record breaking. They have been processing more than 1,000 applications every month unlike in the past when they would process just a few hundreds the whole season," said Odembo.

The surge in the numbers of Kenyans living abroad visiting home especially during the last two festive seasons has been attributed to a renewed sense of optimism and patriotism among the Diaspora in their motherland especially after the passage of the new Constitution. The current Kenyan constitution does not only for the first time, recognize the Diaspora as an important part of the Kenyan society, it also places them at the center of the country’s development within the framework of Vision 2030.

"The benefits of Kenya’s progressive Constitution are just starting to be felt. If you consider that we have had in excess of 3 million Kenyans living out there with huge potential both in cash and kind who have always desired a chance to invest and be part of positive changes taking place in their motherland, then this upsurge does not surprise you," said Odembo.

Mr Odembo adds that when many Kenyans living abroad visit their motherland, they help in boosting the country’s economy and shore up its foreign reserves. "We want as many of them as possible to come home and spend some of their hard earned dollars at home. This is good for our country’s economy. It also improves social relations and inspires many both at home and away to work harder to improve their lives," said Odembo.

Mr Odembo wished Kenyans both at home and abroad a happy and prosperous new year.

 

Source- http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/InsidePage.php?id=2000049368&cid=4&ttl=‘Unusual’ number of Diaspora home for holidays

 

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