Kenyan diaspora Man Who Moved His American Wife From US to Meru

Kenyan diaspora Man Who Moved His American Wife From US to Meru
Kenyan diaspora Man Who Moved His American Wife From US to Meru. George Limiri, his wife Mackenzie and their children: PHOTO/COURTESY-David Muchui | Nation Media Group

A Kenyan Diaspora man George Limiri who came to the US as a student, moved his American wife Mekenze Limiri and the children back to Kenya to live in Meru.

George Limiri grew up in Kibirichi, Meru County. Like his wife Mekenze, George’s childhood was packed with exciting activities. He stayed with his grandmother and spent days on end grazing animals, digging in the family farm and running errands

Mekenze Limiri had a wonderful childhood growing up in the suburban area of Utah, United States. Her parents provided quality family time for Mekenze and her four younger siblings.

“I played sports such as basketball, soccer and softball. I was also into music; I sang, danced and played the violin and piano. Some of my fondest memories include participating in music performances and sport tournaments. My parents were so supportive and encouraged us to pursue our interests. As a little girl, I often imagined how lovely it would be to have my own family and support my children the same way my parents did.”

However, in all the fantasies about her future family, never did Mekenze imagine that she would raise her children in a village in Kenya…

George Limiri says, “I was very close to my grandmother. She taught me how to live well with people, to work hard and to have upright morals. I had the dream of becoming a dad one day and hoped to share childhood experiences to my own children.”

So, how did the young man from Meru meet the young woman from Utah and end up being a family?

Mekenze and George met in Las Vegas, Nevada in 2012. At the time, George was trying his hand in business, running a music record label. He had come to the US in 2005 as a student at the University of Georgia and was now looking for ways to make ends meet after completing his studies.

“We met through a mutual friend. George was looking for a vocalist and this friend told me about it. I grew up singing, so when I heard of the opportunity, I was all in,” says Mekenze.

At first, their relationship was purely professional. They worked on a couple of music projects together. The nature of the job made them spend many hours recording music and they became friends. This friendship blossomed into a romantic relationship which was sealed by a spectacular wedding in Utah towards the end of 2012.

“We fell in love and decided to tie the knot even though I hadn’t met his family back in Kenya,” says Mekenze.

However, she was no stranger to George’s family as they communicated frequently on phone.

We heard each other’s voices and that’s how we knew each other at first. About three and a half years into our marriage, in 2016, we visited George’s family and saw each other for the first time. George had been away from home for over a decade and it was quite a reunion. We stayed for six weeks before returning to the US.”

For those six weeks, the couple traversed different parts of Kenya, from the mountainous areas in Meru to the expansive plains of Maasai Mara. It was during these expeditions that the idea of starting a tour company occurred to them.

“We realised there were people in our networks and family who would love to experience the game drives and beauty of Kenya. So, we developed the idea into a tour company and named it Limiri Travels. We registered the business, got a van for the safaris and launched the company. It is one of our income sources to date,” shares Mekenze.

Shortly after getting married in 2012, the couple welcomed their first child, Lukas Thuranira who was named by his paternal grandfather. Then came the second child, Londynn Nkirote.

“My mum is a kind, joyful and pleasant woman. We named our daughter Nkirote after my mum’s character,” explains Mekenze.

Relocating to Kenya

After staying in the US for five years, the couple began to think more deliberately about moving to Kenya. For Mekenze, the thought was influenced by her brief stay when she came to meet George’s family back in 2016.

“I fell in love with the country, it was nothing like what I grew up seeing in the media. It was my first time to visit Africa as well. I was amazed to see how productive and beautiful the country was. It was during this visit that I began toying with the idea of moving to Kenya permanently.”

In 2019, the couple and their two children came to Kenya. Mekenze was pregnant with their third child, Liam Muthomi. Not even the hassle of traveling with little children could dampen the couple’s excitement. The plan was to stay for one year, test the waters and see how everyday life was like in Meru, Kenya before making the big decision to settle down permanently.

“Raising our children in the US was great. We lived close to my family and got to see them a lot. However, as the children got older and more active, we figured it would be best to introduce them to a different environment, one that allowed them to stay outdoors for longer and explore their curiosity. Having visited Kenya, and specifically Meru, I knew it would be the best environment for them,” explains Mekenze, adding that it was also important for the fast-growing children to know and bond with George’s family.

In most rural homes in Kenya, the family compound hosts several houses belonging to close relatives such as older siblings or uncles. The homestead of George’s parents was no different. It had extra houses for visiting relatives and this is where the Limiri family stayed for a whole year.

“Visiting a place is very different from staying long enough to experience everyday life. However, there was nothing to worry about as Meru already felt like our second home. Still, there were a few challenges like adjusting to a new diet, especially for the kids. And also new ways of cooking. Till now, I can’t slaughter a chicken or watch it being processed. It would ruin my appetite or make me go vegan. Fortunately, George is the primary chef of our family and his cooking is way better than mine.”

The covid-19 pandemic found them still in Meru and with the uncertainties that followed the onset of the pandemic–borders closing and the world shutting down–they rushed back to the United States.

However, the test-run stay in Meru had convinced George and Mekenze to relocate and so they began putting up their own home in Meru while still in the US. George travelled a few times to Meru to supervise the construction. The house was completed towards the end of 2021 and in March this year, the Limiri family moved in, this time for good.

“As soon as we settled into our new home in Kenya, I began making short videos to keep my family updated on how we were all settling in. A few videos in, I thought of starting a YouTube channel which I named Mekenze in Kenya. I still upload videos on that channel. I never expected to get such a warm reception online and I am grateful for my viewers and subscribers. The channel is a creative outlet for me.”

Home-schooling

In addition to adapting to the village life, George and Mekenze have added an interesting twist to their parenting style by choosing to home-school their children. This began while they were still in the US as the couple wanted to spend a lot of time with the children. While home-schooling is common in the US, In Kenya it is still at a budding stage.

“We have always wanted to ensure our children thrive in all areas. Back in the US, my parents and family were very supportive of the idea of home-schooling. Here, the concept was initially unclear to George’s family. They kept wondering when we would enrol the children to regular school. Eventually, they came around after seeing that the children were learning well at home,” shares Mekenze.

Lukas, Nkirote and Liam learn core school subjects including Math, Language, Science, History and Art. They are creative when it comes to inventing games and are sociable whenever they get to meet and interact with other children. The couple agrees that plenty of outdoor time has done the children good, nurturing their minds to stay curious and always ready to learn.

Remember George’s dream as a young boy to one day share his childhood experiences with his children? Well, he is definitely living the dream. The family grows most of their food and keeps animals and poultry and children help with chores such as feeding the animals and tending the farm.

“We have beehives and harvest honey for sale. We also keep goats, sheep, pigs and chicken. I followed in the steps of my grandma who was a successful farmer. I am happy to see my children doing chores around the farm. I am glad we got the chance to come back to Kenya, it was something I always hoped for back when I was living in the US,” shares George.

It’s been barely five months since the Limiri family settled into their new home, but you cannot easily tell this by looking at them. Mekenze fit right into the village life and the children have not only started making friends but also picking a few Kimeru words from the everyday conversations around their dad.

“Truth is , it can be hard to be away from family. Like I mentioned, my family in the US is particularly close. But we have found a way to bridge that gap thanks to frequent video messages and calls. We are all excited for my mum to come and visit later this year. Other family members will visit for sure too, next year,” Mekenze says and adds in her parting shot;

“Children are young for such a short time, it is important for parents to be present and involved in their formative years. It is such a rewarding experience. Also, Kenya is a beautiful place for kids to grow and thrive.”

By Maryanne Gicobi

Source-https://nation.africa/

Kenyan diaspora Man Who Moved His American Wife From US to Meru

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