The Many Faces of Kenyans In America: May be even on the Moon?
Cuba is not a place you would expect to find a Kenyan. The required language is Spanish! The Cubans, though incredibly hospitable, have a major problem communicating. After climbing the majestic stair case into the University of Havana, one would think that work would be easy inside the University. But on entry, one encounters a wealth of brilliant students who cannot speak a word of English. My colleague was a young Cuban man whose house was nothing but walls of old files and books on mathematics! The guy was from a generation of lawyers and engineers and all they had were books written in Spanish. He was brilliant, nice, but clueless on English. We used sign language (Pointing, nothing technical)
What was shocking was that in the midst of this failure to communicate, while having a café’ co lache, on one of the beautiful restaurants down town Havana, some character asked me where I was from. When I told him I was from Kenya, he busted laughing, “Kwetu ni Nakuru.” While he was sitting there, you could not even imagine that this guy was anything Kenyan. He blended into the mystery of Cubans. I mean mystery because people assume that Cubans look like the Florida Senator Marco Rubio. But a historical gene pool has produced the wildest human coloring I have ever seen. I saw a young child whose color was not your historical half cast: She had a skin and eyes not identifiable in normal human terms! They are incredibly beautiful people. And their country is just great to see. The sad thing is their lack of Judeo Christian tradition which restricts many human weaknesses. Without a religious moral code, the young school girls walk around almost
The European perverts have invaded that Island and exploit poverty to lead many women into prostitution. The kind of nightmare in Mombasa! But at least in Mombasa, the culture calls for discreet submission to evil. In Cuba, it is a way of life. If you ever send your child there to school, and I suggest it is a better education than European countries, make sure they are well founded in historical moral principles. If not, they will get lost further away than some of Kenya’s young who are in Minnesota! Lost, lost, and lost! I told a Kenyan couple who wanted to bring their young daughter to America for further study to wait until they enter graduate School! You can gain the whole world and lose your soul!
The Kenyan in Cuba was a young man studying medicine. But the Kenyan I met the other day in Florida blew my mind. I had stopped at a CITGO Gas Station to quench my thirst from the beautiful Florida sun. I pulled into the station, went in and started reading the labels on the many choices of drinks. I try to avoid corn syrup. He told me in his country, he used to drink just water. I was curious which country that was. With absolute pride, the kind of pride that says, “I really want to go back home”, he said, “I am from Kenya.” I stopped looking at the label and asked him, “Wapi bwana?”
The guy had this bright smile on his face. It was as if we met on the surfaces of the moon withdrawn from all human form. Like walking for miles in the Sahara and then spotting a human being after weeks of nothing but sand! If I have ever met a proud Kenyan, it was this guy, and I have met many so called Kenyans. This guy made me re-examine my jevuneering and add some swag into my proud heritage!
The guy was so happy to speak Swahili that when wazungus came into shop, he forgot he was in Florida and told them Asante! Who does that?
When I got my green stuff to pay, he pushed it towards me and said, “Wacha tu bwana, hii ni yangu.” It was 1.99 for a thirst quencher without corn syrup, but the hospitality shown left me speechless! I left and went to work. Then the other day, I got on highway 520 from Cocoa beach, I drove past the beach line 528 to this gas station on the left side corner by the entry into a neighborhood. There he was again standing, working hard in this gas station. The true spirit of hard working Kenyans in America!
I took his picture to remind myself of the uniqueness and quality of Kenyans in the Diaspora. With these hard working characters, no wonder we send 17 billion to our economy for politicians to drive Prados and hold meetings at Green Park, Naivasha! Who cares about our village mothers with no sugar?
Happy father’s day CITGO Kenyan man! You make me proud to be a Kenyan Diaspora!
Teddy Njoroge Kamau (PhD) HTBluff Associates. An EMG Consortium @HTBluff. Diaspora Messenger Columnist.