traveling abroad

Winning a green card or getting a visa to go abroad was a big deal. It didn’t matter whether you were going to USA, South Africa, India, Australia or any other country, it was such a big deal. The moment people heard that you would soon fly away to another country, you would immediately become the trending topic in the village.

Prayers would be organized. People would flock at your home, with all manner of talks, all manner of wishes on your success to having that opportunity. You would invite your churchmates, neighbors, friends, your chief and sub chief to your prayers day. The prayers day would be attached with a mini harambee to help you get some few coins which would keep you running for the whole journey and also the few days after you arrive on green pastures.

The harambee would be mainly presided by your pastor. Your pastor would kick off the atmosphere with rhetoric talks of how you have been tithing well, taking your first harvest to him. The pastor would not forget how you were a great kid during your Sunday school days, how you would lead the church choir and all that. He would also praise you for being humble observing the Sabbath keenly. Your pastor would then invite your primary school teacher. Especially that class teacher.

Your primary school teacher would step forward slowly, head facing down, with a shawl twisted round her neck. Wearing some black planyos (those high heeled shoes that don’t need shoe polish) , she would walk to the front, then stop and greet you all. She would first start by recognizing the teachers who had been invited to the event. She would then request you to stand up and pointing at you, she would say, “wathií rúraya rí, ndúkariganírwo ní kúria umíte”(once you go to USA, don’t forget your background) in short, you will be reminded to be sending something back at home.

Your primary school teacher would sit down. Then your pastor would invite your area chief.

The area chief, a short bald man with no beards but all the evidence of being a chief would be on his face. A black stick, administration uniform and some dusty shoes indicating that she walked quite a distance before arriving at your place. The chief would recognize the area s.chief and then talk of how you have been good all along. He would remind people of a day you found some lost donkeys and took them back to the owner. He would praise you for stopping when the chief together with the administration police were raising the flag near the chiefs place.

The chief would then sit down. Your pastor would then stand up, invite your parent to talk. But it’s not your real parent but your dad’s friend would stand. Siunajua kinyozi hajinyoi. Your dad’s friend would remind you how they have brought you up in much poverty, wearing torn clothes to see that you become an important person in the village and the country at large, no, not the country, back then, only the village mattered. Your dad’s friend would advise you not marry a white woman saying that it is múgiro (taboo).
Your dad’s friend would advice you to avoid drinking alot and women, they can bring you into much trouble.

Your dad’s friend would sit down.

Your pastor would now stand and say because of time, we shall now escort this son of the soil with something small for the journey.
But wait, some commotions are heard near the gate, the area politician accompanied by other friends have just arrived.

Amidst the allulations, the pol walks to the dias (is there a dias even), so the pastor has to give him a chance to address the congregation who are bidding farewell to to you.

The are politician starts,”villagers, good evening?”
Your fellow villagers would respond well.

Then he would start, when I was invited to this harambee, I was very glad, (the pastor walks towards him and whispers something)
The politician starts again, when I was invited to this prayers day for our daughter who is going to America, (the pastor walks towards him and whispers again)

The politician then apologizes, I have been told that it’s our son, not our daughter. Where is he? Actually, you are sitted next to where he is standing but he doesn’t know you at all. You decide to stand up, the politician would then shake your hand and say that you are such a blessing to the country. He promises to send you Dollars once you get to Dallas!

You swallow hard because this politician just over talked making people who had come with something small go back to their homes.

But all in all, you would go on with your plans and fly away for maybe 5 years or maybe when you are deported.

Old good days.
Then came people who would con us money In the name of going to America. Then you would hear someone is at Mombasa eating mambuyu with the beach urchins!!!

Signed
Robert Biu
The Villager.

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