By SOPHIA BARAKA
Truth is always bitter and painful but it helps future generations from repeating the same mistakes.
I feel sad. I cannot even eat my favourite wet-fry frog meat. Kenyans are dying in Obama-land in droves. Media reports give clinical reasons such as domestic violence, suicide, drowning as the cause of death. But we on the ground know the painful truth. Former Kenya Ambassador to Washington Elkanah Odembo says out of the 400,000 Kenyans living in Obama-land, only 200,000 are legally registered.
Kenyans who come to study in Obama-land with money raised from Harambees back home get a rude shock on arrival. They carry exact tuition fee only to learn that they must also pay for registration, accommodation, hostels, food and daily upkeep.
As a result many students resort to crazy jobs to make ends meet. They juggle work and classes. Some hold two to three jobs and attend classes at night.
They work in mental hospitals, clean pups of dogs, cats, squirrels and the elderly in old people’s homes, wash plates, sweep roads and collect worms from flower gardens. These are brilliant medical, engineering, accounts and art students. These jobs are not easy to get as they compete with the locals and millions of other immigrants.
Confused, disappointed, busy and frustrated most of their relationships fail. Other drop out of college. Acute stress coupled with hunger, crushed self-esteem, failure in exams and loss of student status turn some Kenyans into illegal immigrants. Through fellow Kenyans and some sympathetic Americans, some are offered marriage for papers and manual jobs illegally but cannot hold credit or debit cards.
Consequently, without a credit card, one cannot get a decent job or a medical insurance. No physician, dentist, hospital or pharmacy can offer you any services. You cannot receive food stamps if you have no legal papers. At this point, mental illness slowly creeps in. Sick Kenyans in Obama-land have to make do with homemade remedies such as lemon mixed with ginger, honey, garlic. Those in car accidents or critically ill and are admitted in hospitals without papers, get arrested upon being discharged and get deported. Demands and high expectations from home only aggravate the situation.
Some live on the streets or share poor houses — 8 people in a room is no joke! A case in point is myself for I live in a garage with my two Masters degrees. I am not dead yet, but I am a walking corpse. The herb Musenangu gave me five years ago is what keeps me going.
Many Kenyans in Obama-land stay with relatives, who after a while throw them out. It is cruel but it is hardly possible to foot bills with relatives who have a spouse and four children.