Category Archives: post election violence in kenya

Giving up is not an option

Mid Morning today I read a tweeter update from Bankelele about “Diaspora’s giving up on Kenya”.

I read it, and I felt terrible about about what it means for us as a country.

I posted to him a smaller & edited version a response to his blog..

It begins:

In the Media, Bad News is great news.

I hope you realize this aspect of reporting as you and other Kenyan’s in the Diaspora make decisions about home.

It is always a crowd puller to report about 1000 people dying from post poll violence than it when 37 charter flights resume their flights to Kenya.

Don’t allow yourself to be a victim of Mis-directed reporting, one that doesn’t care about a continent that is still represented by a thin black child holding out his hands to relief food.

The grim images on TV are true, so much so that they became a label of what Kenya is about, but that can and will change if someone stops talking and starts acting. That someone is us. Someone who has a platform to inspire Kenyans towards change, in tiny little ways that may not seem tangible, but someone’s got to do something, and running away is not an option if we can learn to be passionate about our country.The media has a role to play..but that’s a story for another day.

Guys; if you don’t have hope about your mother-land. Who will?

I may seem like a dreamer with massive blinders on, so as not to see what’s going wrong. I know There’s plenty going wrong. I live in Nairobi.. from Corruption, to multiple institutional challenges, poverty, political upheaval… and so much more.

But we can do something about it. That’s my take and I am sticking with it.

There must be a reason why our telecoms sector is among fastest growing in SSA.There must be a reason why our stock exchange is still attractive, There must be a reason why tourist are trickling back in, there must be a reason why the name Kenya still has a ring to it….

What our country needs is reverse brain drain, Diaspora Kenyans with international exposure who are BRAVE enough to want a better country. Not those who have warmed up to Western Bliss and forgotten where they came from. We need Kenyan’s who will find motivation even as weapons from Somalia trickle in through our porous boundaries, We need Angry Kenyans who are tired of a dirty city….We need an overhaul in our thinking; and we need to stop talking and start acting..even in the littlest ways possible.

One of the biggest challenges is the gap between the Rich and the poor. If Kenya had more people meeting their basic human rights, then there would be less people to fight for greedy politicians, less hungry Kenyans to receive bread in exchange for a voter’s card, less infant deaths because they can receive healthcare, and less crime, because they have their basic human rights.

In my own small way I am ready to make a difference. We, Kenyans allow so much to happen, when we as individuals and families can educate & support even our employees to have a better life. We owe to ourselves to make a difference.

I was at Church this weekend, and we asked this: What are the dreams of your house girl?

Does she have a medical cover?
Does she have a savings account?
And one of the little ways Kenyans can encourage a saving culture with our home staff, and encourage them to get medical cover (NHIF) 160 Ksh per month. We will have gone along way in bridging the gap between poverty & wealth.

Every Sunday my Nanny goes to Kibera to spend with her extended family, and at Christmas, she travels to Kakamega to be with her Child and her Mum.
What do you think her child wants to be when she grows up? Perhaps a maid; so she can wear pretty clothes and live in the city, get a meal from a fridge and microwave it, use a real toilet that flushes, and Even watch TV (make that DSTV) while comfortably sitting on a sofa set.)

I began to ask myself, how many of us can afford to pay our house girls better, get them a medical cover, or even assist in taking their child to a better school, especially if they are up country? This is not the Government’s responsibility. Your employee is your responsibility.

By giving your girl a chance to healthcare, however simple, and teaching them to save, we are in fact giving them a lifeline.

We, Ordinary Kenyan’s have a role to play as well.

But you have to make that decision first. You need to realize your place in the Kenya you want, and work backwards from there.

Giving up is not an option.

I hope you, your missus, and your readers can begin to look at Kenya as a country you owe hope to.

That’s all I am asking, don’t give up on us…. just yet.