Like Californians, Kenyans are Moving to Texas: Why?
Like Californians, Kenyans are Moving to Texas: Why?Luiza Pessa and the Upendo Sisters
When we think of people migrating, we imagine that migration is only when people are moving from one country to another. For example, we have many Kenyans who have moved from Kenya to the Arab countries. As I boarded Qatar airways to return from Jamhuri (Qatar have the new A350 – 1000s and I am an aviation enthusiast, they also have great service and the food on board is worth the trip), the immigration officer in JKIA cracked a joke, “Professor, hata wazee wemetuacha na Kwenda Uarabuni?” He asked jokingly. Instead of responding, we both busted into a Kenyan laughter. Kenyans laugh for every reason. I once saw some character get hit by a street sign while instead of looking at where he was going; a beautiful ‘skirt’ walking across Koinange Street destructed him. The women was beautiful and well dressed therefore instead of feeling sorry for him, those who saw the incident busted into laughter. Not to condemn the poor fellow, but to acknowledge that they also were looking at her. However, they were also looking at where they were going. Kenyans!
Anyways, when I got to Doha, I was met by a surprise. It seems every person who was checking us at security was some young person from Kenya. Even at the airport hallways, I could pick some Kikuyu and Swahili here and there as the young people were cleaning the airport. Historically, some of us migrated for the purpose of education, others pretended to be travelling for our cousin’s weddings and got stuck in wherever country we were going to. But since the time of Mwai Kibaki, the Kenyan government has shifted its policy given that we have no factories, or industries to provide employment to our young people. Instead of thinking of ways to invest in manufacturing, we have become mapipa where every western country dump its used under wares, women matiti holders, and even socks.
Even with the new found relationship with the United States where president Trump extended his unreserved power by trying to give Kenya a leg up by having a trade agreement which allows Kenya to export goods tax free to the United States, the demon of political nonsense has propelled us towards spending money, not on industry and exportable manufacturing. Instead, we are talking about BBI and referendums! Madness. And because of this demon, the only way we can help our youth is to export them as laborers in Arab countries. Though this is not to disqualify the youth who are very professional and pleasant to travellers in Doha, the idea continues the historical insult about Africans as slaves to the Arabs who sold our brothers as slaves to the Americas. We can be exporters of goods instead of being enslaved. This is what Trump wants for Kenya.
The migration within the United States is not the same. It is the realization by many Kenyans that states like Texas are run by conservatives who believe that the role of the government is to encourage persons to reach their full potential. That this can only happen when these states discourage over taxation, dependency and encourage self-reliance in business and manufacturing. Kenyans come from such orientation. Our very nature calls our women to wake up at 4am and stand at soko mjinga selling potatoes, carrots, spinach, yayas, and hohos until 7pm.
This entrepreneur spirit goes well with states like Texas. It is the reason why I was happy to join Kenyans in a celebration. A celebration started by ladies who are calling themselves Upendo sisters. They understand that when people migrate to new places, they do this with families. And that these families have small children who need nurturing. That the best nurture is one which is guided by what the Kenyan local pastor called, a MAP or GPS. This GPS is the revelation of God in Yesu Kristo. These women inaugurated a joint women effort to teach the children of Kenyans and East Africans to have a good foundation in faith.
These women have historically come to the knowledge that when Children are brought up in the church community and are laid on the Bible as a GPS, their lives are blessed by the hand of He who created all things and seek that we all may come to know Him in the earth and fellowship with Him eternally through Christ Jesus. It was therefore a joy to join them and to hear a great word by pastor Joseph Kagunda of Fountain of life Church in Round Rock, a suburb of Austin Texas. If you migrate to Austin, check out this great Kenyan community. 1705 Gattis School Rd. Round Rock Tx.78664. Their fellowship starts at 2.30 pm.
Teddy Njoroge Kamau (PhD)
BBN TV Kenya
Diaspora messenger senior columnist