I was in a conversation with a Kenyan back home and he really wanted to get some stuff to Kenyans in Diaspora but he was honest enough and told me that his writing is just too bad. I encouraged him to talk so that I could convert the conversation into an article for KSB. If he were to be able to write (he is literate and by writing, I mean representing his ideas in written form), I do think that he could have produced an article along the following lines.
In Kenya, mobile telephones have changed people’s lives dramatically. The miniaturization of the mobile phone, constantly changing programming and technology and an ever increasing population hungry for information are features that have all combined to elevate the phone into both an organizer and a centralized multimedia platform.
Apart from everyday communication, multimedia phones embedded with cameras are promoting casual photography like never before. Listening to the radio is no longer an exclusive indoor activity because key local radio stations are available online from where listeners can tap them through their mobile phones. Consequently, several outlets specializing in selling of mobile phones have sprouted both on the ground and online. At OLX Kenya and other mushrooming sites, anybody can buy or sell a mobile phone at an affordable price. The ready availability of mobile phones continues to promote quick communication in all sectors and this is good for the economy.
It is for this reason that I decided to raise some key issues with Kenyans in Diaspora. Instead of routinely travelling home with a baggage of low quality, second hand goods, clothes, cameras, shoes, ma-chupi (aka athoch) and an assortment of worn-out gadgets to be given out as “presents” every krismasi to deprived relatives, you need to carry a load of mobile phones instead.
If it is second hand clothes, Kenyans have an overdose of mitumba so when you surface from abroad with another load of the same stuff, you are not bringing any development. Carry a second hand iPhone 4 instead or a Samsung galaxy then proceed to give it out as a present. A used and worn out pair of winter shoes or a heavy winter jacket is of no use to a relative because the weather is ever warm. Kenyans don’t need second hand leather jackets and for those who need them, there are enough at Gikomba market so next time, carry an Xperia tablet or any Nokia left-over instead and you will change the life of your poor relatives.
It is always good to have you home but please, do not always make it a habit of showing relatives and friends how much you can spend in three weeks. The tones of cash you flush around to buy booze to friends at expensive hotels while riding around in a hired Taxi or in a fuel-guzzling Prado could pay school fees for that deprived child of your uncle’s daughter up to University. Just be simple because regardless of the amount of effort you try to put into painting the image of “conqueror of the British empire”, many Kenyans now understand that you may not be having it as rosy as you want everybody to believe.
Diaspora Kenyan, travelling abroad used to be a big deal when the purpose used to be “further education”. In these modern days of the mobile phone, it is an open secret that thousands of Kenyans who make it abroad are escaping from poverty, unemployment, falling living standards, general insecurity, idleness and other maladies affecting the Nation. You may not have landed abroad because of Mwakenya but majority of your lot may be refugees of some sort – economic refugees, “greener pastures” refugees, insecurity refugees, escapees of idleness, or, in the case of those who simply wanted romance with wazungu, “romantic asylum seekers”.
In the case of romantic refugees, you may have obtained your Permanent Marriage Permit and Kenyans at home appreciate this. Now, what you need to do is to buy that brother of yours tuktuk or just a bycicle so that he can have something to do because frustrations are driving millions of youths into alcoholism. There is no need of telling your relatives that your watch costs 50,000 Kenyan shillings when your dear mom continues to fetch water far away from the river. Dig a well for her because your 50k watch is just a bling bling. If Wakenya want to see the real blings, they look for Sonko so be informed.
Instead of spending 60.000 Kenyan shillings on booze, transport and moving around with every pretty girl when you are in town, this money is enough to set up a small scale business that could sustain yoyr suffering relaz for ages. You shall have given your cousin a job to do instead of just leaving him to drink alcohol.
The worst part is that when you arrive with your flight at JKIA, the next day you are the same person boozing your alcoholic bro then when you leave, he is more deeper into his stuff than before you arrived. He was in a bad state when you arrived but as you leave, he is in a worse state, almost in a comma! This is not good Wakenya wenzangu. Next time you travel home, make sure you have at least 10 cell phones for a start and secondly, just be simple.
By Okoth Osewe