The recent shocking murder of a spouse and her two children in the US is not the first one, just a some months ago, there was yet another one of the same kind. Apparently, many other things, including suicides are beginning to take root among our brothers and sisters residing especially in the USA. I would like to posit that there is a deep underlying reason that together as Kenyans, we need to bring out in the open and discuss so that we can begin to seek solutions.
First and foremost, let me take this opportunity to thank Wangui Giciabu, Dr. Joe Karogi, Pastor Birai and Margaret Gichuhi for taking a pro-active approach in discussing this in the open and in an honest manner given they talk from authority having lived in the US for some time. There is this perception that if one is in the USA, life is all rosy and all heaven. This is a perception that those living in the USA must disabuse our youth of. Driving by the US Embassy whenver I visit my project offices in Gigiri, I have always seen long qeues of youth struggling to secure visas to the US. I once met a young man in a local with a cousin of mine inand in the discussion, his imminent travel to the USA came up, he had apparently secured a visa to go to the US. He all was excited and from the look of his excitement, he presumed he had kissed hard life goodbye. This was and is still the dream of many young. The land of opportunity that the USA was has since changed, Americans themselves are having it rough and I guess anyone else would if they do not have a stable income and secure employment an above all, a very good education.
Stories have been told of how just sitting with a mzungus child for a few hours would earn you lots of $$$$. Washing this or that would bring $$$ rushing into your pockets. But stories are not being told of how bills are high and you may need to do lots and lots of jobs to pay these bills, worse if you are a student. It does not make much sense for a student to struggle to go for studies in the US,pay for fees and accommodation and having to take up jobs to make ends meet when they could easily got to Nazarene, USIU, Daystar, Catholic etc, even our public universities have now openned doors to paying stundents!!!!
In, a student will live within affordable means in a county familiar to them and where they can rely on the goodwill of parents and relatives. Unless one has a fully paid up scholarship, those who go with a few hundred thousand raised from harambees in Kenya soon find themselves in trouble when they run out of money, soon they drop out and start playing cat and mouse with US immigration when their student visas expire.
It is time those who have worked, lived and stayed in the USA begin giving a clear account of what life is, how success is achieved and the fact that it is not neccesarily that on landing in the US, your troubles are gone, FOREVER!!!
Before, many Kenyans housed their brothers and sisters who went and were trying to settle, I don't think this is the trend anymore, life has become hard and no one will house you for months for free as you look for "non- existent opportunity in the land of opportunity". It would be advisable to enlighten our brothers and sister back at home that form 4 certificate will not get you anywhere in the USA so linning up at the US Embassy in Kenya to get a visa to go to "Stato" is a waste of valuable time that could be used in trying to enroll in a college in Kenya which is cheaper, affordable and you will most probably have no bills to pay as you shall be living with your parents or relatives.
It would also be note worthy to discuss the cultural backgrounds that shocks many who get there for the first time. I think someone mentioned the emerging problem of "rights and freedoms" that are tearing families apart. As africans and moreso Kenyans, we are socialized in ways that when we go to foreign lands, we need to understand how to manage the new cultures we find ourselves in lest we break families.
I could go on, but I think the onus is on our countrymen in the USA to begin debunking some of these misconcerptions. When in high school in the late 80s, my greatest ambition was to go to the USA. I am not sure if I still hold similar ambitions apart from tourism but apparently, even with the economic meltdown the USA has undergone and the dwindling opportunities, many of our school leavers still believe going to America is the "ultimate route to opportunities."